American Focus

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Somewhere along
the way, our great nation has lost its focus. This matter has bothered
me since our invasion of Iraq. Maybe we lost focus long before that
point in time, but that was the event that woke me up. My search
for clarity drew me to the Internet where I fed search engines with
keywords like "George Bush lied," "Rumsfeld lied,"
"Cheney lied," and a few other of our leaders' names followed
by "lied." My searches eventually led me to the alternative
news websites, the anti-war sites, and finally to Karen Kwiatkowski's
amazing New
Pentagon Papers
which I read in great detail. It was this
document that led me to the website, where I have
found hundreds of articles that point the finger of responsibility
at our unfocussed government. Although my wife tells me that writing
articles about our corrupted government is a waste of my time ("I
can't stand to read another article about that SOB!"), here
I go, yet again…

I had the good
fortune of discovering the book, Paine,
Collected Writings
. This is a collection of many
of Thomas Paine's best contributions to literature. More than just
literature, his efforts were as important as those of our nation's
leaders and fighters in forming our free nation. The reasoning of
the Thomas Paines, along with the Ben Franklins, and the likes of
George Washington, to name just a few formed the basis for America's
Declaration of Independence as well as our Constitution. As I read
through the Paine writings, I found that much of the impetus for
America declaring independence from England was to get out from
under a tyrannical monarchy that had fallen into using America as
a cash cow. In the eyes of the King of England, America's purpose
was to provide England with a tax base and a source of natural resources.

Paine provided
sound arguments for America to break ties with the mother country.
Our country eventually formed a new kind of government where one
of the first provisions guaranteed we would never be ruled by a
monarchy. The next basic tenet was that the government would be
representative in nature. This meant that every citizen would be
represented by people who were elected by those whom they represented.
This new method of governing by plurality, a democracy, became a
model for other developing nations. America paved the way and became
a showcase experiment for the world to see. Although there were
growing pains and glitches that required modifications, the essential
elements of the government of the late 1770's have purportedly survived
to today.

I came upon
a term that unfortunately appears to be a more accurate description
of democracy in today's America. That term is illiberal democracy.
A couple of direct pastes from Wikipedia
will do this term justice: [The term denotes] a particularly
authoritarian kind of representative democracy, in which the leaders
and lawmakers are elected by the people, but tend to be corrupt
and often do not respect the law… [The ruler] behaves in
a manner that violates the constitutional rights and liberties of
the general population. Later: An illiberal democracy is
marked by the tension between how a government is selected and how
that government behaves. Illiberal democratic governments believe
they have a mandate to act in any way they see fit, disregarding
laws or the constitution if they desire, as long as they hold regular
elections. They often centralize powers both between branches of
the national government (violating the separation of powers) and
between different levels of government and private associations.

Um…sound like
any government we know today? Corrupt leaders not respecting the
law might include the likes of Jack
, Katherine
, Randy
, Tom
, Michael
, Bob
, the list goes on… Behaving in a manner not respecting the
Constitution: Well, our president declared a war on another country
without proper Congressional
authority. Our president also loves to violate our constitutional
rights by snooping into our phone
and Internet
without bothering to obtain the proper warrants. And he
has manipulated the laws he has signed with signing
that essentially say he intends to do as he pleases,
regardless of the law. He does not need to veto anything because
when he smirkingly signs with his reservations he is saying that
basically the law is for everyone but him to follow. This behavior
smacks of a tyrannical monarchy. Frankly, that smirk of his is the
equivalent of a raised middle finger to us all.

As for tension
over how the government was elected; I think the 2000 presidential
election was a shining example of fraud.
I am not pretending to be an Al Gore follower, but I do like to
think that my vote is counted as are all of the votes in my state
(Florida!). Even the 2004 election has many convinced that Ohio
was stolen
, which put Bush back into power, along with his change
purse of political

As for violating
separation of powers and between different levels of government
and private associations; we need to look at the sweetheart deals
our government gives to Halliburton
(Dick Cheney's "former" company) and Kellog,
Brown & Root
, and to look at the phenomenal rise in value
of The Carlyle
("former" senior advisor and board member: Bush41).
My hunch is that there are possibly many more examples of our government
sleeping with private industries. These just pop up as the most
blatantly obvious.

As a teacher
in a public school, I have my students say the Pledge To The Flag
each morning. In that pledge, the word republic stands out though
I suspect that a lot of Americans just go through the recital without
thinking much about what they are saying. The word deserves highlighting
and a key definition
of the word is: a government in which supreme power resides in
a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected
officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according
to law; also: a political unit (as a nation) having such
a form of government.

Okay, I am
willing to disclose that my educational background is primarily
in engineering. In engineering school, I did not spend a lot of
time studying political science but I am able to see that the government
under which America is governed today can no longer be called democratic,
nor may we truthfully call our nation a republic. I can also see
that if one simply looks at the definitions of republic (what we
say we are) and of illiberal democracy (what we really are), it
is obvious that America is in a precarious position. We are not
what we profess to be and we are no longer following the formula
that made us great.

The nation
has lost its way and is completely off track. We should not be confronted
with our president telling us that he is the
. It should be the people who decide and our tool of
decision ought to be the voting booth. But many Americans are so
disenchanted with the current voting procedures and so distrustful
of the tallying of the votes they have given up and no longer bother
to stand in line to vote. Therefore, the people who allegedly represent
us were not chosen by the public, but were thieves who stole elections.
Subsequently, we see that the lobbyists are the power group who
truly run the country, and we get that familiar slap in the face
telling us that money powers everything. The words, money, power,
and corruption go together like Winkum, Blinkum, and Nodd. Those
who have money are well-represented while those who have none get
no attention except during election years when candidates vying
for votes lie with their promises of helping the poor. The story
has become a crock that fewer and fewer can accept or believe in.
This crock gets raised from the dead and delivered every other November.

Our leaders
exercise so much power that they begin to believe they are powerful.
They forget that they are citizens who must live under the same
laws as all other citizens. The result of this misdirected government
is going to be the demise of our great nation. The demise I see
occurring is not in some obvious or measurable category such as
the stock market, or our annual output, or not even in our dependence
on foreign oil. The demise is in our absolutely most valuable
resource, our citizens
. People are becoming completely turned
off to politics, turned off to hearing daily reports of political
corruption, turned off to seeing an incompetent government lead
the nation into unwarranted war after unwarranted war, and turned
off to the feeling of helplessness caused by the inability to change
things for the better.

I apologize
to my beautiful wife as I have written yet another article about
"that SOB."

17, 2006

Woolley [send him mail]
is a disabled Vietnam veteran living in Miami, Florida. He served
with the 9th Infantry Division in The Mekong Delta in
a Ranger unit doing reconnaissance 1968–69 where he received
a gunshot wound to the head leaving one side severely paralyzed.
He is a father of four grown children and grandfather of seven,
including a set of triplets.

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