We need a revolution.
Not a violent uprising. Not crowds rioting in the streets. No guns and soldiers. We've been through all that and the result is the United States of America as constituted. And that constitution is pretty damned good.
Wait a second, I see the eyes rolling in the back of your heads. Mention the constitution and immediately you see the angry white men hiding in the woods with their hunting rifles declaring that the only way you get their gun is from their cold dead hand. OK that's a little on the extreme side.
The revolution we need is in our public discussion of the goals and tactics of our country. If our military provides the blood of patriots that keeps us free then the freedom of the press is the sword of that freedom. However we have let the corporations buy and sell the rights to our opinions. You might hold a difference of opinion with FOX news or CNN but who blogs against British Petroleum (We're here to stay....) or the Coal Lobby (We are the future....)
The most insidious commercials are the are the ones that show Mom fixing breakfast on a clean counter in a fifty thousand dollar kitchen. Or worse yet are the networks dedicated to housing remodeling or purchasing new houses. The expectations are unrealistic. The life shown on commercial TV, not just in the shows, is so far from our reality it does us a disservice.
What we need is an honest discussion about what our goals as a country should be. What our ideals should be. Do we agree that the poor are our brothers? Or are they a problem to be dealt with (until we become one of them). Should we idolize success at any cost, or should success on the bodies of others be condemned and criminalized? Also what about the statement made that corporations are people too? Should they be treated as entities? Has a corporation the right to exist? To profit? Does a corporation have a moral responsibility? Can it be a victim? Or can it be a felon? How do you put a corporation in jail? Can it tell the truth?
As you can see there is need for discussion.
But not the dogmatic exchange of thoughtless rhetoric and canned talking points that passes for political discourse in this country. No wonder politics and religion are topics banned from public discussion. These are the very topics that most influence our lives.
There will be times I will frame these questions and the more
specific derivative issues in Christian terms as well as historic terms
or political ones. This doesn't imply I am a Christian dogmatist.That's a
whole other discussion and one I'll cover later.
Skipping over the great religious questions of the day (should a woman be allowed to control whether or not she is pregnant, should we make abortion a death penalty offense, should Wal Mart be open all day on Sunday too?) we need to discuss our basic values.
Should life be fair?
Well its not, but if we can help make it more fair should we? Or should we let the strongest and most ruthless control how we live and what we think? Is order more important than freedom? Are these two ideals mutually exclusive? What does it mean to be 'equal'?
But before we bubble into a cacophony of voices and opinions (assuming anyone is still paying attention) lets think about the rules of discussion.
First the object of a discussion is to compare, contrast and resolve opposing viewpoints. Plato understood this and used the technique with a lot of success when he described the model of the Spartan city state.
Second a compelling argument doesn't make it true. Facts make it true. Check the facts, use the facts. Verify the facts. And make sure you dig deeper into the facts than what's presented. What's not told might be more important that what is shown.
Third, just because something is true and accurate doesn't make it compelling nor does it describe all the events and forces that came before it.
Fourth: A good idea is just that, an idea, a hypothesis, that which is to be proven. Ideas have to change to fit the facts. You can't change the facts to fit the idea. That's one of the fallacies that has caused the current troubles...(Pick a year, pick a problem, pick a government ).
Fifth: History is the final arbiter. In the end the arguments of the Roman senate and the demands of the plebeians from the stands were answered with the barbarian's spear and fire that destroyed the Roman empire.
So feel free to join this discussion. If not with me than with your family or coworkers. Remember each and everyone of you is part of the revolution. Don't fear dissent embrace it. We live in a free country because we can dissent.