…Unless Absolutely Necessary

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I think the time has arrived for the deliberate citizen to consider the essential question of our representative democracy:

“What Would Jefferson Do?”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

For me, an instinctive evidence of the need for new Guards is the creeping but inescapable realization of a sense of danger that accompanies any public quotation of the Declaration of Independence.

Will the Democrats sweeping Congress and the White House constitute New Guards?

I cannot honestly answer yes to that question. We need a Restoration of the Constitution on so many fronts…but no candidate speaks of this as the highest priority…which is all it can be.

In the old days, The People would mass in protest in physical proximity to their leaders. Outside the Capitol, the White House…to protest, yell, rally, speak, march, agitate, fight….today, the national security apparatus guarantees that no leader must suffer physical discomfort, or even have to bear the sight or sound of a member of the general public. Remote “free speech zones” ringed with Taser-wielding Troopers in Star Wars armor assure that. The planted agitators start a violent movement to “justify” the sadistic assault on a peaceful and lawful assembly…why? To provide an outlet for the steroid-induced unfocused hostility of the ubiquitous Anti-terror brigades? The leaders only see the general citizenry when they decide to do so. And increasingly, they have no such inclination. The Royals, so to speak.

The “Right of the People to alter or abolish”…that is not a subtle statement. It means to “fundamentally change” or “to do away with entirely” in ways far beyond the mere passage of legislation. Is it naive to think that this is possible in today’s technological plutocracy? What armed insurrection of any feasible size has the slightest hope of succeeding against the unfettered might of the US military, now free to operate at will domestically? Armed resistance as might have been in Mr. Jefferson’s mind as he wrote…well, that is obsolete. And perhaps counterproductive.

Which brings us back to Mr. Jefferson…what would he do, in our shoes, today?

Impassioned public speaking, blogging, newspaper opinion writing, talking head shows?

General strikes, work slowdowns, passive resistance?

Creative nonviolence at a national scale?

I think he might say this: “The interests of Money have replaced the interests of the People in the minds of the elected public servants. Place their money at risk and they will heel to your leash.”  I can’t see how this can happen without a massive and sustained general strike…the kind of thing that would appear in a major Depression or hyperinflation crisis. Or maybe China and Europe and Russia have had enough of the Neocon Empire and are not-so-blindly colluding to strike at the economic underpinning of the USAmok. I don’t know. But I wonder.

Hard to believe the most effective way to shut it all down is not to buy anything except essential food and medicine for several weeks, and make sure The System Lords at Goldman Sachs know why you are doing it. Oh yeah, they pay people to read blogs. If enough people go on a consumer strike campaign, they will tell their political puppets the game is over for now, and a lot of things might change. If everyone skipped just one mortgage payment at the same month, it would all come down quickly. Unavoidable pain and suffering for the working poor (80% of us) but it will be less painful than living as indentured debt servants under constant government surveillance and arbitrary police terrorism for the rest of our lives, and our children’s lives.

Yes, I call getting tasered to death for no reason police terrorism.

Whatever you decide to do, whatever you do, don’t give a dime to a candidate or a PAC or Special Interest Group until they are making clear and cogent noises about restoring the Constitution in short order. And putting Bush and Cheney in the impeachment dock.

Or…maybe Mr. Jefferson at this point would retire to his beloved Monticello…raise grapes, horses, improve the crops and the soil, and write about it for future farmers to benefit…once the dark hand of tyranny had been removed by a better generation to come. Perhaps he would see the wisdom of inaction, resignation and acceptance, local community improvement and resilience to withstand the predations of the totalitarians.

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  1. I too refuse to overthrow the government unless absolutely necessary.

    How about you? Gonna keep shopping?

    It isn’t against the law to stop buying crap.

    They can’t force you to buy stuff.

    • Armando on November 28, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Jefferson did NOt free his slaves so there is a limit to this.

  2. most people I know have already scaled way back on what they intend to buy – one friend saif she was giving everyone a sock purchased from Goodwill with a piece of coal in it.

    I don’t think it would take much to push people to a strike given they are half way there already; the issue is timing; sooner than later as the pressure builds.

    I have already purchased all of my Christmas gifts at my favorite Salvation Army – all for under 100 dollars and only for the half dozen seriously important people in my life.

  3. I meant to also say – although I completely support a strike – if compelled to shop – charity stores are the only option.

  4. is the only thing keeping most sheeple from realizing that their real wages have stagnated, and if they didn’t have that credit over the last decade, they’d be wearing barrels and suspenders even with their employment incomes…

    When the dollar’s dive makes things more expensive and the credit tightens, as is happening right now…gonna be blood in the streets in a few months, watch and see…

    Going to be ugly…

    Of course, I could be wrong…

  5. is for the purposes of saving capitalism for a dying planet.

  6. what if everyone considerably above the poverty limit, but not wealthy – as in the middle class –  without excessive medical bills tried living within their means?

    I have gone for weeks at a time with nothing but a roof over my head, the food in my house and 3 dollars in my wallet? More often than I care to admit.

    • Edger on November 28, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    I agree with almost all of it, with one small large exception…

    Whatever you decide to do, whatever you do, don’t give a dime to a candidate or a PAC or Special Interest Group until they are making clear and cogent noises about restoring the Constitution…

    I say don’t give a dime or a vote to a candidate or a PAC or Special Interest Group until the Constitution has been restored.

    Never give an inch till it’s done, and make it clear to them every day that you say what you mean, and mean what you say.

    Otherwise what motivation do they have to do anything but make empty promises?

  7. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes

    Enjoy the New Guard, Cowboy!

  8. Like MassLass & others mentioned above, I buy almost nothing.  I’m free.  I’m free.  I have a credit card, but only because it seems to be needed to use a computer and other non-credit based activities.  But I pay off the balance instantly.  In 40 years, I’ve only paid 35 cents interest!  I got the flu and didn’t pay it in time, once in 40 years.  A friend said about this, “You aren’t even an American!”  

    So go for it … GENERAL STRIKE



    If we did this on a massive scale, if we could turn others on to this, the system would fall of it’s


            …and crumble into the dust it is.

  9. would Jefferson do is as futile as asking what would Jesus do.

    They were both as much men of their time as we are creatures of our time.  Neither would recognise America of today or the Middle East of today as having much relationship with the land, people or politics that they had to deal with.

    For one Jesus lived in an ancient occupied land under the Roman Empire, Jefferson lived in a new nation still under the influence of the British Empire.

    Both attempted to envision and project a utopian world for a better future.

    So I would prefer to ask ‘what would Jefferson’s ‘Declaration of Independance’ sound like if it was written today in the hard reality of a rapidly changing world where small groups of privileged people could no longer make the rules. For those that will inevitably say well what has changed, the rules are still being made in the board rooms and the back offices, that is true, but these rooms are now spread all over the globe and the checks and balances are worldwide, not parochial. In Jefferson’s time you could only vote if you were a white male property owner, today just about everyone can vote, plus you can invest in the global economy no matter where you come from.

    Even for those who despise the entire concept of ‘globalisation’ because it necessitates taking something from the few to give more to the many, thereby incrementally lifting more out of poverty, even if they live in foreign lands, it is the indubitable truth that all over the world many benefit from the concept.

    And while, this may be blasphemy my guess is that both Jefferson and Jesus would approve.

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