Alone on A Limb
VACLAV HAVEL said:
"You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility..."
OK, I don't fear for my life at family reunions. But I am the family dissident. So, another quote, this time from EDWARD R. MURROW:
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
I am alone among my siblings. We are a big, loving, hugging, boisterous, generally strong-willed bunch. Five sisters, two brothers and my mother. We vacation together almost every year with our spouses and children and even grandchildren. We usually get along well.
Like the rest of the country, though, we are split by politics. Unfortunately for me, however, our family is not split down the middle: all five sisters, my brother, and my mother have become very conservative Republicans. I am the the odd man out.
I am a Democrat.
I love the founding documents of our country.
I revere the founding fathers.
I believe in civil rights for all.
I believe dissent is a responsibility of citizenship.
I believe in the separation of church and state as being best for both.
I believe our government should protect minority rights.
I believe that we have a cultural heritage that should not be denied or ignored. The Christian faith is a huge part of that heritage.
I believe also that we must be more sensitive than our fathers to the fact that many loyal Americans are not Christian.
I believe in stringent environmental protection.
I believe that the government should, for the public good, provide good roads, a strong national defense, effective emergency management, outstanding public schools, basic housing and food for the poorest among us, support for the arts, good public broadcasting, mass transit in cities, inter-city and cross-country passenger rail service, for starters.
I believe the activities, associations, living arrangements, or lifestyles of adults should concern the government only if it interferes with the life, liberty, property or health of others.
I believe no person, however stupid or misguided, should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
I believe in our right as a people to covenant together to provide universal health care to our citizens.
I believe those of us who, through some combination of intelligence, hard work, learned skills, and good fortune, have been financially well-rewarded should pay the largest part of the expenses to provide the services and protections I have described.
I believe torture is always wrong and incredibly stupid and any president or vice president or other official who advocates relaxing that rule cannot be trusted with the powers of his/her office.
I believe all persons are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe we should go to war only when there is a clear national interest that can be protected no other way and when there is a strong consensus among the people to support the war.
I believe that lying, exaggerating, or hyping information in order to take our country to war is a high crime.
I therefore believe the current occupant of the White House is right out there with Richard Nixon and James Buchanan in the race for the most dangerous President of all time. With the right wing in total control of all three branches of government, a major "news" network, an intricate right-wing "religious" political consortium, and a huge talk-show echo chamber, it isn't likely to be practical to impeach him. He deserves it.
A final quote, this time from a Nazi, HERMANN GOERING:
"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
Probably most of the folks who visit this blog (if anyone does) will be my family. Except for my wife and daughters, I expect my family will disagree with me. I'm sorry I'm alone out on this limb of our family tree. But I've been pushed out here by my "personal sense of responsibility". To abandon my limb while I have these beliefs would be cowardly and unpatriotic.
I hope my wonderful family will at least understand me better for what I write here.
I welcome brief polite comments in support or disagreement. Those who have long responses should post links to their own blogs in a brief comment. I will delete any impolite comments.