As Patricia Williams wrote in The Nation this week, “You know these are interesting times when Glenn Beck, Dianne Feinstein, Rand Paul and the ACLU all stand on the same side of an issue.”
The issue is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012, in particular Sections 1031 and 1032, which authorize detaining U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge or trial. The bill would allow federal officials to take these steps based on suspicions only, without having to demonstrate to any judicial official that there is solid evidence to justify their actions. Interestingly, it is now up to President Obama, a scholar of constitutional law, to make the decision as to whether the Bill of Rights he went to Harvard to study will be superceded by a law that abrogates it.
Williams is right: these certainly are interesting times.
We are at the point where the left vs. right political lines evaporate into meaninglessness, and we are forced to realize that there are only two political options: Local control and self-government or central-state-government control and fascism. Centralist or decentralist. Those are the only real political paradigms we have. Everything else is a fictional choice.
So, what should we do? From where I sit it looks like we have to start at the local level. We need to get over our petty differences and become We The People. Americans are known for their eclecticism. And, eclecticism doesn’t always see eye-to-eye on every little issue. But, if we put that all aside, it’s easy to agree on the fundamental issues. The word “community” comes from the Latin roots munus, which means “the gift” and cum which means “with.” So, in building community we are “with the gift.” And, at the core, we all want the same gift: our homes and land on which to raise our children and grow our gardens, the right to assemble peacefully, to be able to speak freely. In short, the American Way of Life.
We all, though, got sleepy. Overly complacent. Americans got distracted by shopping and watching TV and we took our eyes off the road. And, in doing so, we have been broad-sided. The repair work begins, now, right here in our local communities —to restore our gift. It means building bridges between all of the various eclectic groups that we call our local community. Whether one’s views tend toward conservatism or liberalism, Christianity or Buddhism, etc., doesn’t matter. We are in this together and we have to throw out life-boats for one another.
That sort of solidarity is not being encouraged by the globalists. Mandatory government text alerts, for example, went live in New York City this week, allowing the feds to send promos for the “See Something, Say Something” snitch campaign, creating a climate of separation among community members. We don’t have to buy into this kind of thinking. We can do things differently. As a part of a local effort, we can start talking to one another — not just to the people who happen to be in our immediate circles — but to those who are on the opposite side of the fence, as well. We can find places where we really share common ground. If you usually face East, start talking to someone who usually faces West.
Maybe in better political times, we can have the luxury of being annoyed with one anoher. But, right now, we’d be well advised to let all of that go and to see one another as real neighbors, as local family, standing by and safeguarding our gift. This holiday season, we need to step up to the plate and really Occupy “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.”
— Sherry L. Ackerman, Transition Voice