An End to Authoritarianism and Plutocracy: It’s up to us

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Let us consider the fundamental guiding principles for the United States of America — freedom, equal opportunity,compassion, and security.

Then let us consider how those principles have been severely undermined, and how we, the American people, can restore them so that once again our government is of, by, and for the people, rather than a tool of oppression cynically utilized for the benefit of a small, powerful, abusive, elite political and financial class, to the detriment of the vast majority of U.S. citizens, as well as billions of people around the world.

We often hear it said that the United States is the greatest nation in the world.  What exactly is meant by that?  And is it true?  The more important question is: Can we, the American people, make this, once again, a great and proud nation — a nation that lives up to its original promise?  We can achieve that — if only we will.

Who are we as a people, what do we really believe in, and just what does our nation stand for?  How far have we drifted away — or, rather, bolted away —  from what we once were?  And how do we, once again, attain greater freedom, more equal opportunity, compassion, and security for all?

These questions have never been more vital to consider and confront.  Our nation has been transformed in just a few short years — virtually unrecognizable in fundamental respects when compared to the republic that once proudly proclaimed a constitutional system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and constitutional protections of due process, restraints on war-making, and a truly balanced system of separation of powers among three co-equal branches of government.

We are at a nation-changing — even world-changing — fork in the road.  We can continue on the path of becoming more totalitarian, even fascist, with an imperial presidency that continues to accrue to itself unprecedented tyrannical powers; more greedy as a nation and as a people; less capable to compete on a global stage; more empire-building and war-mongering; less equal under the law; more divided, in terms of income and wealth, between a tiny elite financial aristocracy and the rest of our citizenry; more cruel toward men, women, and children, here and abroad, who are not part of the elite political and financial classes; and less secure, as a nation and as individuals, now and in the future.

Or we can turn things around radically, becoming more free and respectful of the fundamental rights and interests of people in the U.S. and elsewhere, with restraints on executive power — and accountability for abuses of that power — as contemplated by the founders and by our Constitution; more generous and helpful as a nation and as a people; more capable of competing with other nations, their students, and their workers; more cooperative and friendly toward other nations; more committed to liberty and justice for all; more prosperous, with a strong, healthy middle class, capable of living rewarding lives through equal opportunity; kinder and more compassionate toward our own citizens, immigrants, and men, women, and children in other nations; and more secure in our homes, our communities, and our nation, presently and in the future.

The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence sets forth the general guiding principles of the founding of our great nation:

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.

There could be no stronger affirmation of our nation’s guiding principles of freedom, equal opportunity, compassion, and personal, familial, community, and national security.

These guiding principles ring loudly in the first sentence of our Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The guiding principles, then, set forth in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are that people — all people, not just citizens of the United States — are created as equals, they all have unalienable rights, including the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to pursue happiness, that we seek to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility (that is, peace), provide for the defense of our nation (that is, security), promote the welfare of everyone, and secure liberty not only for us, but for later generations — “our posterity”.

It is for each generation to exercise conscientious diligence in sustaining those guiding principles.  Sadly — tragically –, those who were to have represented our interests in Washington, particularly during these past ten years, have severely undermined those principles.  And we, the people, have not sufficiently spoken out and acted to return our nation to the principled course set by the Founders.  But we can — if only we will.

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