Just Say No
I am more and more reminded of my words at the 1968 Vietnam Commencement at Cal, of their truth, the need to keep them in the forefront of my mind, and to act upon them, to the effect that: This government is not your friend. Whenever it orders you to do something or even asks you to do something your first reaction should be to resist. Resistance can, of course, take on myriad forms and one is simply, preferably publicly, withholding consent. It was axiomatic in those times that we needed to go on record, at least verbally and preferably by our actions as not-acquiescing in our governments wrongdoing and malfeasance and actually actively opposing such wrongdoing and malfeasance.
There were long lists of things to which we did not agree, which we did not support and which we couldn't participate in and refused to participate in in whatever ways we could do so. Today, more than ever, I think we need to open our eyes and our mouths and use all available media as well as appropriate actions to express opposition to not just this or that one thing but to pretty much the entire vast panoply of government activities and government inaction, sins of commission and of omission. And there is a bigger point than simple disagreement and/or non-compliance, which I will get to in a bit. But think it over for a bit, and think broadly, not merely about the big stuff. Think about the extent of your consent, past and present to each and every bit, every damn item, every act, event, law, or failure.
There is a vast list, with many spreading and ever forking sub-lists. Imperialism and all it encompasses. Let's start with our wars, our regime change operations, our regime change campaigns, our color revolutions, the insurrections and coups we foment and support, the regimes we fund and arm, the drone strikes, missile attacks and bombing campaigns, the fact that our government
requires ignores international laws and conventions regarding such matters, and our own Constitution. Not over all, as a thing, process and policy, though that too, but each and every single damn instance. Did you consent to any of it, do you now, did anybody ever ask you, and do any of them give a shit what you think and say about such matters?
How about our unilateral sanctions, our starvation sanctions and our threats of sanctions being used as a cudgel to get our way? How about everything the CIA has ever done, its secrecy and its very existence.
What about the siphoning off of the vast preponderance of our wealth and productivity to the military and the war machine. The huge network of bases encircling the globe, each and every damn one of them. All of our saber rattling. Our abrogation of treaty after treaty and our habit of violating and ignoring the one's we don't abrogate.
Racism. Institutional racism, both overt and covert, the processes, procedures and laws put in place, and those desperately needed that aren't enacted or even considered. Discriminatory policing, not to mention excessive policing and militarized police forces. The "defacto" segregation that is subtly and not so subtly encouraged, discrimination in lending, housing, employment, transit availability and ever so much more. Environmental racism in manifold manifestations and forms. And all the mechanisms, practices, habits and policies that encourage and engender cultural racism. Voter caging, discrimination in voting access, gerrymandering. The school to prison pipeline and the racist nature of our judicial system and prison system.
Just separately consider the whole fact that we incarcerate such a huge percentage of the population, often for such bullshit reasons, and all the discrimination, both racist and classist, built into that system and industry. The nature of our prisons and the way prisoners are treated.
Corporate welfare. Corporate citizenship with a whole set of special privileges and laws for corporations that places them above people. The inapplicability of most criminal laws to corporations and their governing elite, including especially "three strikes" laws. Preferential bankruptcy laws and tax treatment. The restrictions on labor and labor organizing and labor organizations.
The failure of the government to provide anything resembling medical care to the populace.
The failure of the government to adequately regulate businesses and prevent monopolies and cartels.
The failure of the government to safety test and regulate the myriad of chemicals produced and injected into the food stream, sold as medications, released into the air, water and soil and the like.
The destruction of the environment through a combination of neglect and affirmative subsidization and encouragement of polluting technologies.
The whole arena of equal rights for women, including the right to own their own persons and make their own medical and reproductive decisions.
The corporate and bank ownership of the government and our currency
I could go on at great length, but that is a project for each of us to undertake, to enumerate and contemplate, so I'll just toss out one more. The two party system. Did anybody ever choose to thus limit electoral choice, other than those powerful interests that have benefited by so doing? Yet there are laws facilitating that narrowing of choice in many ways in many states. Two very powerful organizations select a very limited number of persons who they believe will further their goals and further empower their organizations and this nations powerful and wealthy and then pretend to allow you to choose between and among them. Have you ever been asked if that is how things should be run, and did you agree that, yes, it is?
This is the crux of the matter. To all of the above and to much more, I say "No, I did not consent, I do not consent, and I will not consent." This is no trifling matter, as I will soon explain. I suspect that much of the population would answer in the same manner, at least with respect to a lot ot the subjects and items. I know I periodically see some poll claiming to show that the vast majority of the populace opposes some policy that is in place, or supports one that our government refused to enact. So what does that tell us about our government? Is not the test of the legitimacy of a government whether or not it governs with the consent of the governed? This is not some simplistic one time buy in of the form "do you consent to be governed by this government, these institutions and form for all the rest of your life, yes or no?". This is a requirement that a government, in order to be legitimate, must affirmatively seek the consent of its citizenry for its actions, it must attempt to determine the wishes of the populace regarding all matters of import and notice and then act upon and implement those wishes. Our government never really attempts to do anything of the kind. It's general framework, especially with a view to the need to implement a rule of law as opposed to a rule of men, has much of the needed structure, but it is clearly defective in some respects and hence must need some changes, alterations and improvements which need to be worked out once it is possible to consider and contemplate such things. What's worse, is that it is saddled with a seriously corrupt and unresponsive two-party system which has rendered it completely unresponsive and corrupt itself. Arguably, much improvement could be had almost overnight by simple elimination of said two party system, which is, oddly enough, not provided for in the Constitution and hence requires no amendments to eliminate.
Oddly enough, the other day I received a letter, ostensibly from Joe Biden, which had the words Are You With Me? emblazoned on the envelope. NO, No, I am not, Joe Biden, and that is very much the wrong question Are you, Joe, with me? Have you ever been? Have you ever been for the people, supportive of the people, seeking to aid and empower the people? We both know that the answer to that is NO. BUT, more importantly the system is corrupt. It has never been any part of your job to serve the people and hence you never have. That might be at least ever so slightly the fault of the system. It is said that qui tacet consentire videtur, or, as Dr. King famously said: 'A time comes when silence is betrayal, and the corruption must be cast out. Even were I fool enough to find some merit in the "Lesser Evil" argument, and to seriously consider you to be such, I am obligated to seek out the destruction of the two party system. That requires that I vote third party, any available third party, so as to express clearly that two parties are insufficient and that the two party system must be ended. In my case, there is more than one, and one I can willingly vote for, but regardless, only by voting third party can I vote against the continuation of the current unresponsive and corrupt system. On that basis, I cannot vote for any mainstream candidate other than one who would be absolutely certain to be incorruptible, responsive to the people, and determined to end the two party system, a candidate which cannot exist in this universe.
be well and have a good one
Title Image is No
It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours
EDIT _ Changed :"requires" to "ignores", totally wrong word, sorry, also one of my "of" to "or" errors