Monday, June 28, 2010

accountability

not a word much used these days- from the speeder who cuts you off in traffic; to the local pastor fondling pre-teen parishioners; to state officials caught peddling prostitutes; to the federal government who starts illegal wars for profit- no one feels accountable anymore. here in new york state, the budget woes and tax burden is not something to be envied, and yet, for more years than not, the state budget has been late without a squawk from new yorkers. we shrug and complain and go about our daily routines. lately, the miracle cure is 'marcellus shale' as if this will be the answer to all of our problems. my thought is perhaps new yorkers should stop looking for a quick 'drill, baby drill' fix to the tax burden and take a tougher look at the root cause of it. we need to make difficult decisions and the truth is- we don't have a representative government in albany. what we need to do is take the knife to the bloated systems that exist solely to perpetuate jobs and decide whether we need streets with curbs or a generous social services package. seriously.

i have been thinking quite a bit about accountability lately because i can't wrap my mind around the fact that it has become so commonplace for americans to simply give in without a peep to bullies and loud mouths and so called 'experts.' i haven't quite decided whether it's gullibility or guilt or i don't even know...

america was a great idea for a long time- and it worked for most because the citizens maintained the system. now, i know that there were severe flaws- i mean women have only had the right to vote since.... 1920. that's what really blows my mind that so many young people simply assume that they will always have their rights because they always have. they nod and smile when told that they really need to maintain and continue to fight to keep the civil liberties americans used to enjoy under the constitution. within the span of a decade, the very essence and core of american democracy has been eroded down to a nub. we live under a facade of rights- not the actual rights.

any american who still believes that they have a right to privacy or are protected from unlawful search and seizure hasn't been paying attention to the congress or the supreme court within the last few years- and indeed the last couple of months. yes, we can hop in our cars and speed down the highway and cut someone off in traffic with impunity- but we can also have our computers and phones and mail monitored without us even knowing. we can also be taken from our homes and no one need be notified and we don't have to be mirandized or allowed counsel indefinitely. did i mention we can be held indefinitely too......

so, as the fourth of july approaches, i wonder if there really is an america under the cheap, patriotic bbq facade. after the beer buzzes fade and the smoke from the fireworks clears, will most americans understand what they were supposedly celebrating? will they understand that we do not have a representative government on any level anymore? will they understand that chief responsibility of every citizen in a democracy is to hold their governments accountable?

even our upper middle class, white, landowner, slave owner founding fathers got that...

"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,[71] 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."

but i have a feeling that most americans wouldn't even know where those words came from, let alone have read the document through more than once half assedly in their 10th grade civics class. see, we don't want to be held accountable so we can't very well hold anyone else accountable. and, hey, history is boring right? i mean otherwise we would have recognized that the banking collapses and the basic implosion of our economic systems mirrored that of the 1920's.... or that tyranny usually comes from within one's own nation- and that corporates rarely have the 'small people's' welfare at heart...

but, hey, don't let me rain on your bbq- and while i realize that it's your land to do with what you like, with a record like the energy companies have- whether it be digging for oil or natural gas, you don't really get to do what you like. there comes a time when the rest of us need to stand up and say- shut the fuck up and sit down- people who have half a brain need to be heard now...

3 comments:

fjb said...

i see we've been thinking a lot about the same sort of thing lately.. :)

TIME said...

From an old reader of your blog (TIME)

These kind of paranoid, hateful times (McCarthyism, Nixon red baiting, etc) come and go in America, always have. It will pass, but not without disgust by people like you and me.

Enjoy your 4th of July

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

Hi - I thought you hadn't been posting lately, but it appears my rss feed is acting up because I see you have.

Good post - sad reality of course, but a nice summary. Hope you're feeling better. Diane