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August 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm #139893Anonymous
How far would you go to keep on the right side of your Government, do you think everything they do is ok would you stand up to them if you saw them committing genocide or destroying peoples lives in some other way, but by doing so that would make you and your family a target, its just a hypothetical question, would you stand up to them and help people or just carry on and not get into any trouble. These things have happened a lot throughout history.August 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm #155785Anonymous
Now that’s a good question. :ponder
Society is so fluid that the best thing we can do is speak-up, stand-up, organize, etc., when we see the signs of darker trends occuring. People do seem to do this more often than not.
Many people feel NeoCons were gaining too much power, and that a specific religion (A sort of fundamentalist Christianity) was becoming too much a part of government and that perceived threat grew and diminished abruptly within a couple of years after a generation or more growth here in the U.S..
During the scare after 9-11 people were willing to give-up their freedoms for security – and there is the danger. Emotion. If more terrorist attacks had occured within the U.S. who knows what may have happened – and how the majority would have allowed a political philosophy and power to grow and develop?
As I see it – there is the knee-jerk and emotional response to Dark happenings and they often are big and heroic actions done usually ending in martyrdom. Whether that heroic action is seen or remembered for long is never really known.
Mindfulness, looking beyond the emotions of horror/grief/fear, to make the majority question outside of their own fear is a much more difficult but a much more successful response. And sometimes “timing” is most important. When an occurance like 9-11 and other violent and abrupt tragedies occur it may be best to allow for the knee-jerk reaction – and also the results of the knee-jerk – but also keep the mindfulness to question ever before people.
Skirmishes never win the war – and wars never truly end…
It’s the constant effort, I guess.August 30, 2010 at 7:13 am #155806Anonymous
This subject reminds me of a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty”.August 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm #155810Beral KhanParticipant
I agree quite a bit with Asta’s post. I would add a few more thoughts…
First, one of the major issues with the general public is that, due to a need to feel safe, they are willing to follow anyone who first stirs up their fears and then offers a solution to feeling safe.
We see this among the fringe right wing movements today. When completely false statements are made to be seen as true by various methods and these false statements make people feel unsafe, it causes them to become more open to suggestions.
Things like ‘your gun rights are going to be taken away’ or ‘the president wasn’t really born in america’ are perfect examples of this.
I bring up these points because it is causing people to believe that their way of life is in danger. Here in America, we are seeing two countries occupying the same piece of real estate who really are coming to HATE one another. This hate is fueled by people who look to control either side and the overall piece of real estate.
Eventually, this could have disastrous actions done in the name of ‘the founding fathers’ and ‘the REAL United States.’
My point in all of this is fairly simple: The Federal Government is traded back and forth by two distinct countries: The Left and Right viewpoints. So when you say, ‘stay on the right side of the Government’ you have to consider a few questions:
Do you mean the Federal, State or Local Governments?
What is the opposition in which you refer – Verbal, Political or something more Physical?
Should more concern be for what the Government might do or rather those growing-in-radicalization groups/individuals who share a differing view point than your own?
People that I find of particular interest are those groups which will soon feel the sting of their political group failing. Those who say they will do what their ‘founding fathers’ did when political maneuvering failed in the past: take up arms to defend ‘personal liberty.’
Only this time ‘personal liberty’ could be defined as ‘the rest of the country is doing things like passing laws that ensure equal rights to everyone and ensuring everyone has access to health care in a FAIR way and we feel it is destroying the way of life we know is right based on our own shared personal/religious beliefs.’
So how far would I go to oppose a government? I’m not even sure where the government ends and the rest of our lives begin anymore. And if it was true, as we elect our officials, that the government is of the people, by the people and for the people, then if I oppose the government, am I not opposing myself?
All of this is just thoughts I have and should never be seen as a personal attack. :meditateAugust 30, 2010 at 9:18 pm #155821JaxKeymaster
It’s a hypothetical situation that’s very difficult to imagine right now. Considering my situation, I have to think of my families health and safety which means if things were bad enough we’d have to leave and find someplace safer to be. But that’s an extreme situation. I really can’t imagine things getting that bad. Even with how loud the extreme right is right now they are balanced by a more moderate majority which keeps things from tipping too far. And our government is in no danger of going too far at this point. There are too many checks and balances, and at least the United States is too big to control in any physical way. Heck, I still live in Texas. If the federal government went too crazy I’m sure they’d secede again in the amount of time it takes to make a roll call vote. lol
Maybe if I lived somewhere else I could imagine this scenario but I really can’t. It would have to be really bad to get us to leave – basically the danger in staying would have to be greater than the danger in leaving. And I have no way in which to fight, so if this were a physical situation I’d have to leave. If it were a situation where I saw something but it wasn’t a direct danger to me I’d probably speak up in my blog, on facebook, tell whoever I can. I don’t know how easily I would back down if I were contacted by the government, I guess it depends a lot on what happened and what they were threatening. But I take my responsibility toward my family very seriously, in ways I can’t explain but I think that keeping my wife safe and sound is more important than almost anything due to her role in this life. So I’d always have that as my priority because her role is very important. If she were healthy and didn’t have the job she does I’m sure we’d both stand up and fight. She’d still want to fight, so in the end we’d probably find a creative way to do so. (and that was a round about way of getting to that answer lol)August 31, 2010 at 1:00 am #155826Anonymous
I was one of those who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.
I was injured when one of my fellow countrymen threw an apple at me with a small stone shoved into it and it broke along side my head. The feeling was so high to those who wanted to blame Saddam Hussein and Iraq for the 9-11 problem that they could not understand that they were being fed a lie by our government as an excuse for further war.
***That the rest of us did – we little regular Janes and Joes out there – who were in opposition is yet interesting to me now that the truth is out that the Iraq war was “faulty intelligence”. How come some of us knew it was faulty – as did most of the rest of the world?
As I walked down the streets of Detroit, and we have the highest Arabic population outside of the Middle East so we had a VERY mixed group, I faced the anger of those who looked most like me: White and Middle Class. But their fear and hatred was palpable. We all had to dodge garbage – and the police stood aside – and watched us as we were attacked during a legal march.
…even as blood was in my collar, and ran down my back, not one fellow American on the other side helped or cared, their anger was too high and righteous.
I’ll never their ugly screaming faces and happiness at my blood. (At that time I was yet an active Quaker – and marching with Quakers).
It can happen – what Pete asks – it can happen if orchestrated just right and enough ignorant and emotional people do not ever stop to think. And the rest become afraid.
But there are some of us – and hopefully now Jedi – not just Quakers and the like – who would risk physical harm and more.
But there are also other ways – and speaking up and speaking out is important. Even if people hate you for it.
It could happen. It really could.August 31, 2010 at 2:12 am #155827JaxKeymaster
I guess I didn’t see that as the situation being asked here, but that’s ok. I’ve never taken part in an actual protest. They always conflicted with work or school. Maybe that’s a poor reason, but I don’t know how much good a protest does in general. I can understand the importance of visibly showing that the majority isn’t the only opinion but I don’t know that it changes opinion. And changing opinion is what we really want, right? Asta, since you’ve participated can you explain to me why you did it and what you wanted it to accomplish, I’d love to know more and understand. My only experience with people protesting is often people who just want to yell a lot.
I know that part of my reason for not standing up in public is fear. I recognize it and accept it. I wasn’t raised to make a fuss. I wasn’t raised to push issues or make a scene. Just speaking up in my blog and now on facebook has been a process of growth for me. So perhaps in the coming years I will see the need to speak up in a public protest type situation. I certainly hope I would. At the least I believe I will get to the point where I feel I can speak up in a way that helps a situation in the future. I’m not sure what helps in these situations. Any ideas? Right now my strategy is to speak my mind on places like facebook, try to plant seeds of awareness or doubt in people so they can change their viewpoint. But that isn’t much. (full disclosure, I’m dealing with a lot of fear stuff lately so I’m more fear based than normal so I’m sure in the future my position can change)August 31, 2010 at 2:39 am #155828Anonymous
Well – Quakers do not believe in violence – but they do believe in action. (Like hiding slaves, and other actions against what are perceived social wrongs).
I was raised within an action spirituality – not words, Quakers do not speak unless it is when the spirit is within and God/Force/Spirit has a message from any in Meeting, so for me it is part of my culture of heritage (so to say).
I am no longer Quaker – but I do like that spirit of action rather than words unless they are truly of the heart. Standing up to what a felt, and I’m sorry to sound dramatic, but it felt like a poison in my blood if I did not speak my message through protest. I felt the invasion of Iraq so wrong – so horribly wrong – I could not have stayed home if I wanted.
I would have gone with Quakers or without them. They went because of non-violence – which I do agree in most part – but I went because I sensed such a horrible tragedy within it. Such a darkness.
I think it is a bit cultural, and also if people have been opened to feel social wrongs as personal.
I do not think it’s for everyone – and we all act as we are led. Some people create art against it. Some people make movies/documentaries. Some write. Some pray. Some act directly.
But I can say that the people who were against the protest march in Detroit were for blood and war didn’t care at that time WHOSE blood it was – including mine. They wanted blood and revenge – and it was mindless and horrible – but I was so horrified by that feeling of dark/wrong that their screams and spitting, aggressive fist threats, only made me want to keep going.
That apple hurt a lot, but the blood going down my back actually felt like a release of what felt so wrong inside of me.
It’s truly like something that is nearly esoteric – but for me – I literally felt it in my body.
But I do think it’s family/socially cultural – how we respond.August 31, 2010 at 3:07 am #155829JaxKeymaster
So basically, if you didn’t act you would be less of a person. It’s something you had to do for you, and not about changing anything per se – though more about changing or defining who you are. Is that fairly accurate? I’m working on simply speaking because it’s enough of a challenge for me at this point. To speak without fear is almost harder than action at this point. Action is hard too. Facing criticism and possible violence and arrest isn’t easy. It’s pretty awesome that you were raised to take action, most people haven’t been so we get a whole lot of inaction. Action is good and something we should strive for. It could be a challenge to distinguish when action is helpful and when it is harmful though. Unless there’s that burning in you, like you experienced, then it’s pretty easy I would think (the decision that is, not necessarily the action) It takes a lot of courage to stand up in the face of all that hate. I can’t imagine.
I’m struggling with a desire to help turn around the anti-Muslim sentiment but not knowing how to do so. I hate seeing my friends face hatred just for being who they are, especially when they are guests in this country. I’ve known that feeling enough myself. But what action would help? I’m at a loss.August 31, 2010 at 3:59 am #155833Anonymous
Jax – I didn’t really think of myself or my feelings at the time. I remember that time pretty vividly – I was joining news sites – most in Europe because most U.S. citizens believed the “faulty intelligence” – and we were all trading our information (I speak/write just enough French & German to get the idea of things – but most spoke/wrote much better English).
I simply “knew” there was something really wrong – and really bad – about to happen that would have tragic, tragic consequences for years. It was like a fever of sorts – it was a cold horrible fever – and that is where I wonder if being raised (in part) Quaker makes that more likely to “act”.
My biggest visual memory is that I was working at the biz and an Air France pilot came in. Those years the TSA wasn’t quite going and we’d had troops with big rifles over their shoulders all around us. They used to troop into the store, totally head-to-toe ready for combat, and it was a really scary time. But the Air France pilot said something about the insanity of the U.S. going into Iraq to one of the gung-ho Northwest Airlines pilots and they got into it. Remember “Freedom Fries” rather than “French Fries”? Those were crazy days.
After the Northwest Pilot took off – because they were close to throwing some fist – I said to the Air France Pilot to keep on talking, that France needed to keep speaking-out. He looked very surprised that I said what I did – and we spoke for a few minutes – and suddenly I realized we were whispering. We were hunched over and whispering because we were afraid to be overheard.
Something about whispering in my own store – afraid of the government officials and war hawks – the FBI was around a lot and this insane act of going into a country that had NOTHING to do with 9-11 made me sort of “snap”. But it was a cold sort of thing – and when I heard about the Protest March in Detroit – I knew I could do SOMETHING.
It was standing up – and that time it was against a rather rabid government – and saying what I thought as a citizen. I had the right. I payed taxes, followed rules, and my freedom was important and this was wrong.
I was never “followed” or tracked for being at that protest – probably because I was injured – I’m not sure. But I do have to have security clearance for what I do – and it could have had really severe repercussions had I been on some of the lists that were out there for five years or so. (Remember the libraries and book stores were monitored?)
Things can happen – and they can happen really fast and most people believe the government when a national tragedy occurs. We do anything we can to stick together – but that is when the danger can happen.
The question was “how far would you go?”. Well – I don’t know – but pretty far if I felt strongly about it.
But it was a civic action – not a personal one – my protesting the Iraq Invasion.
In your situation, and in other more “social” situations – it’s more complex. It’s more a part of daily life. And for me, in my background, I think I have to harken back to my Quaker upbringing and say that your life is your statement. It is in YOU and how you live daily and who you are and not so much grand gestures.
But who can say in really dire situations?
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