Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Tyranny of Ignorance

We do not know tyranny in the United States of America.

There are some who may argue this point. They believe that the current administration is "destroying the American way-of-life" and "tearing down our freedoms" and "making us a socialist state."

They have no idea.

You see, if America were currently undergoing a radical transformation via a tyrannical government, they would not be around to be outraged or shocked, or even to scream out their rage at the government. Their freedom of assembly would be curtailed, their freedom to speak snuffed out, their weapons taken, and likely, they would be imprisoned without charge or trial.

And yet, there they stand, in defiance of "tyranny."

We do not know tyranny in the United States of America.

We do not know the banging on the door in the middle of night, the pistol-whipping of a family, being dragged into trucks and driven away, never to be seen again.

We do not know the subterfuge of an election held, results announced, then overruled by leaders on high, who impose their own will on the people, and stifle opposition by arresting and indefinitely detaining the leaders of that opposition.

We do not know the slaughter of protesters seeking redress of their grievances, being gunned down wholesale in the street by mobs loyal to the government.

We do not know the deprivation caused by unscrupulous government agents taking relief supplies earmarked for the starving and destitute masses, and turning them into profits for themselves.

We do not know tyranny.

We live in a free society, as free as one can be short of anarchy, where government makes rules, based on the will of the people, tempered with the desire to do the most amount of good for the greatest number of people. Those rules must pass not one, but three tests, as there is a balance of power, each branch of government reinforcing and regulating the other two. The Constitution provides the unshakable bedrock upon which all of society's laws are made, ensuring that in the end, no rule may harm the basic freedoms of an American citizen.

The people of this country are given myriad ways to alter the functions and fit of their government at every level, from whom they elect to represent them, to what powers those representatives have, right down to altering the Constitution itself if that is required. Any citizen may petition their representative to consider their view in crafting the laws of the land, and the people of this country can hold their elected leaders to account, via the ballot box.

And none of this has changed.

The Constitution has not been struck down or defaced. The branches of Federal government are intact. Martial law has not been declared. People are not being rounded up. The press is still allowed to report the news.

There is no tyranny, unless you count the tyranny of ignorance. It is not helpful to be mired in the past, to claim somehow that America was "better" or "truer" at one time, and that somehow the nation we now inhabit is a shadow of its former self. For the nation that is America today, has been built on the foundation of our Constitution, shepherded through good times and bad by our government, and is still a republic of, by, and for the people. So long as we can come together, work through our problems constructively, without malice or bitterness, our nation can continue to be strong. If we continue to wallow if partisanship, if we allow our fear to overwhelm logic, if we choose to trade barbs rather than ideas, we stand to lose everything we have built here, and for which so many have sacrificed so much.

We must remember that, despite any differences between individuals, we are one nation, conceived in liberty and bound by the desire to live our lives in peace and freedom. The price for this is putting down our preconceptions, finding compassion within our hearts, and making compromises to further the general welfare. If we cannot do this, then yes, out country will no longer be the one we recognize.


  1. Amen! It's like, "You there, with the sign! Please take a moment to remember that YOU'RE ALLOWED TO DO THAT. And maybe use your inside voices so we can all hear each other as we take our turns. Thanks!"

  2. damn straight "You don't know tyranny"