An attempt at democratic government requires mechanisms for citizens to participate in the decisions that affect them. These decisions are primarily related to crafting legislation and regulations that serve the common good. That should involve vigorous and respectful discussion and debate about ideas and public policies to reflect them. This process requires all the parties involved to listen to others ideas, and make compromises.
The behavior of the Republican Presidential candidates is just the opposite. Where is the discussion of ideas and policy? Instead the presidency is seen as a contest to be won by manipulating peoples fears, and demonizing opponents. Unfortunately this fear mongering has real consequences, like the killings at the Colorado Planned Parenthood.
Military policies are supposed to be subject to these same processes, but recent decades have seen various presidents erode Congressional powers regarding military engagement and the declaration of war. For the first time in the history of our country, the United States, unprovoked, invaded another country. We now have an unchallenged policy of assassinating anyone deemed to be a terrorist, without any legal review or justification, either in the individual circumstances or as a policy. Our government has decided it can carry out these military operations wherever it discovers “terrorist” activity. The consequences of these uncontrolled and illegal activities have been to turn civilian populations against the United States and feed the terror networks. It reflects a profound ignorance for politicians to call for further drone and military attacks, since that will just continue to contribute to the growth of terrorism, as we clearly see.
Sadly but not surprisingly, the terrorist label is now being applied to our fellow citizens who dare to speak out against injustices. The shock of Ferguson was not only the occasion of the killing of another unarmed black youth, but also the display of how far the militarization of our own police departments had gone. Police somehow became soldiers, and war came to our streets.
These deeply entrenched practices will only change when we say “No”. We can’t leave this to others. Each one of us has to speak out, and engage with our friends and neighbors, so they will feel empowered to speak out as well. The mainstream media has failed us in this regard. Social media is one of the most unfiltered (for now) ways to do this. Write a blog, write on Facebook, use Twitter, speak out now…