2007-02-18

 

I remember 2003 too

My friends typically expect me to post dance music or glam, but I do listen to a lot of other stuff, even country! Yes, I've always had a soft spot for the Pop side of country. Not just Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash, but also Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and Willie Nelson. Naturally, I detest the fat-guys-in-tight-pants-selling-pick-up-trucks-draped-in-American-flags-and-eagles type of country music, which brings me back to 2003.

It is very nice to see all the kudos given to the Dixie Chicks now, but in 2003 it was an altogether different story. Back then, even though plenty of evidence pointed to what moved Bush and the gang, the streets were full of cars flying American flags in support for this crazy war. Yes, given that this is a Democracy, a little over half of all voting Americans are responsible for electing those who brought us this war and all the death, mismanagement, corruption, deficit, ill-will, insecurity and decadence it entails. Democracy means that those who elected this gang, are also responsible for the current state of afairs. Moreover, when Bush was elected in 2004, it was clear to anyone who cared to be informed what he was about and what this war would accomplish.

Back in 2003, even though I did not receive death threats like the Dixie Chicks, I did receive one anonymous voice-mail hoping to scare me from my online and private ramblings. The anonymous caller was upset that one of my e-mails at work displayed a quote from Karl Popper: All nationalism and racialism is evil. I was "advised" that if I wanted to maintain my job I should refrain from such talk. This anonymous call was actually one of the big reasons why I left the Los Alamos National Laboratory to work in a much freer environment at Indiana University.

Back in 2003 I clearly understood how a Democracy can be tipped into fascism. How the threats to freedom of speech do not need to come from a government or a secret police. All it takes is blind nationalism, a little fear, and people pissed off at those who are different or have different opinions. James Madison was well aware of this when he wrote: "Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other". (another one of my favorite quotes in 2003). And what to do to get people in the mood for war? Oh well, this is what Herman Goering had to say to Gustave Gilbert at Nuremberg:

"Naturally the common people don't want war... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship... Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Now, as I also voiced somewhere online in 2003, I have great faith in the American people. I am indeed happy that the Dixie Chicks are now on top of the World---even though in 2003 they were shunned by fellow country music stars and even the American Red Cross refused a million dollars from the chicks in return for support of their tour. I am also happy that most Americans finally seem to see what kind of president they elected. Interestingly, while the war is still going on, no more flags are seen adorning cars these days...

But like the Dixie Chicks say in their pop hit, I can't forget 2003. I can't forget that anonymous call. I can't forget that 2003 is still going on in some quarters. Not only in the beltway where the usual gangstas are now trying to push a war with Iran, but in small towns all across America. I can't forget that just last year, in the Newburgh, NY airport, not too far north of the city, the security people thought that just because me and my young children were speaking another language (in an airport, mind you), we were potential threats. I can't forget how insidious patriotism can be in the minds of innocent people. And here, by innocent people, I am thinking of Graham Greene's description: "innocence is like dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm"---another favorite of mine in 2003.


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Comments:
This is what happends when iluminatii get in power: freedom is the first victim. Here the mantra is democracy. Those of us who critizise the speech are just left out as not being democrats(?).
 

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