Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, June 2009
Obama and the Powers Truly Ruling the United States
By Robert Shule
ccun.org, June 14, 2009
Wonderful it is for a leader to speak of peace rather than of making war.
Wonderful it is for a leader to speak of democracy, equality, and justice for all.
Wonderful it is for a leader to douse the flames of fascism to an ember in his own country,
and wonderful it is to have an electorate who votes and stands behind such a man.
Yes, the United States majority does opt for and desires peace.
So, why then does the government of such a man and such an electorate incite war in a land where a peace treaty has been painstakingly forged?
Why does the same government ignore the duly elected representatives of people in favor of coddling corrupt governments throughout the world; the most blasphemous of which inflicts death and sufferings upon indigenous people to the point of slow genocide?
Why does this government pursue an economic strategy that robs its citizens of their wealth and welfare to finance transgressions?
Why are the shrouds of secrecy that harbor past crimes not unveiled?
Top teacher, top lawyer, I am sure, but the new Presidentís manís name is not Faust. What deal did he make to get to where he is at is no doubt something we will never know. Let us hope though, for his sake, that a good man walking down a wretched path can still find his way to heaven.
I fear though that the powers truly ruling this United States are much greater than even its Presidency. Against these powers, the Presidentís well meaning words are but whims in a sea of graft. I envision these powers looking at the Presidentís antics on the pulpit, chuckling, and jokingly asking what is he trying to do. A mere pawn in a great game, to expect the President to doing anything substantial against the greater powers is wishful thinking.
The powers I am referring to are those institutions, concentrated into the hands of a very few, that control our money. By their manipulations they can make industries and countries rise, and industries and countries fail. In the United States, they effectively control what we see, what we hear, and who we elect. They essentially determine how we live and work. Anyone who tried it knows; to step away from the society endowed by their finance is to commit oneself to poverty or worse.
Henry David Thoreau in protest against the United Statesí war against Mexico (1846-1848) sought to reside on his own in a little cabin he built himself aside Walden Pond. Although he did clear his conscience in doing so, he did not stop a war. Somewhat later another man by the name of Ghandi stepped away from the monied underpinnings of his time in an aspiration toward God. He was shot. Martin Luther King in the American civil rights movement tried to effect change by nonviolent mass movement. He was shot too. It was not until Malcom X came along and essentially said "hey, let us torch some businesses and homes" did the powers take heed and the racial discriminations were repealed. Interestingly, the Mahatma Ghandi himself did write "I do believe that , where there is only one choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.." 1.
I do not feel the situation in the United States is such for violence, and I certainly would not endorse it. However, over the years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I have come to realize that mere protest and speech alone does not force the hands of greater powers. A true resistance must be active, and it must undermine.
The U.S. antiwar movement is in fray, and except for a few web-sites like Al-Jazeerah stateside news has become like cotton candy. One can no longer even effectively comment on it. In this environment little utility can be found in touting a gun for a cause for which to even the more attentive average American is but an abstract notion. Although the majority of the United States is for peace, those who are actively for peace remain a very small minority.
It stands to reason though, since the power of the worldly troublemakers stems from their control of money, an effective resistance against the greater powers would include the undermining the money enabling them; in effect to quench the publicís thirst for it. That should be only so hard, for in this economic climate the average Americans quickly loosing what little money they have anyway. Possibly then may they opt for some exercise in virtue. Just think, if all stopped smoking the tobacco industry would collapse. If all stopped living efficiently respecting the environment the energy industry would collapse. If all saved rather than borrowed themselves into dept, the finance industry would collapse, and if all stopped gambling in the stock market the securities industry would collapse. Yes, much of the U.S. economy is built on vice. So why should any good person bother resurrecting it?
We know that all the good President has done is throw some borrowed money into the prevailing winds without altering a fundamental factor. It will only be a short matter of time, maybe two or three years I wager, before the U.S. economy will take another sorrowful turn. So, sensible it would be to become more self sufficient from those enthralling moneyed interests despite the hardship and dangers involved. Not to do so will only bring on even greater demise. There is an art to knowing how to fend without a store and to buy without making a debt, and is for those having the will to learn, practice, and teach. After all, power ultimately comes through the individual, and is not of any institution.
Robert Shule is a patriotic U.S. Citizen, who has been active with the anti-war movement in southern Virginia since 2003.
1. Ghandi, The Mind of Mahatma Ghandi, Compiled and edited by R.K. Prabhu & U.R. Rao, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahnedabad-14, 1945.
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