It is not uncommon for some elders to say, from time-to-time, that they are tired. They’ve worked hard for decades, scrambled to pay the bills, raised their kids, overcome setbacks and now, having reached a ripe old age, want to kick back and relax. They’ve earned a rest, they say, and so they have.
I’m tired too - exhausted, in fact - but not (yet, anyway) for the same reasons.
I’m tired of a federal government that at every opportunity has usurped the power granted in the Constitution to Congress, the Judiciary, the states and the people. I'm tired of watching the administration, day by day and in each new revelation of secret fiat, remake the United States into a tyranny. I am tired of being told by some friends and acquaintances to lighten up, that I exaggerate. Are these - individually and collectively - exaggerations?
The president claims anything he does is lawful and so, it appears, the Constitution is dead.
Hundreds of thousands of private communications have been intercepted by the government in the name of national security. If, when I write a note to my friend in Israel, I might happen to say that Arab Muslims have a point about this or that, will our correspondence then be flagged and held against us at some future time?
Hundreds of people are held in offshore prisons for years without access to family, legal counsel or trial date.
Torture is now an acceptable means of prisoner control while elected officials spin lofty tales of exporting the kind of democracy that they thwart at home.
Congress expects me to respect the results of their hearings, but selectively exempts corporate executives and high government officials from testifying under oath.
The president promotes turning over retirement benefits and health coverage to market forces enriching the wealthy elite while increasing costs to the poor and middle class who have no way to pay.
The president tells us the economy is solid and growing, but the middle class is shrinking, wages lag behind inflation and personal savings has moved into the negative.
Our borders are a sieve, only four percent of imports are subject to security checks and now the government has sold the responsibility for port security to the United Arab Emirates, and we are told it’s a done deal, cannot be changed.
All checks and balances, assigned by the Constitution to Congress, have been moved to the executive branch with hardly a peep from Congress.
Congress is openly entertaining the idea of turning over control of the internet to the mega-communications companies who would, in turn, then control where each of us can go online.
Giant technology companies, with the consent of the government, are engaged in censoring access to the internet in other countries and as a direct result of Yahoo!'s cooperation, three Chinese dissidents have been jailed.
Millions of dollars worth of bought-and-paid-for mobile homes are sinking into the muck, unused on the Gulf coast while thousands of victims of the worst natural disaster in the history of United States continue to go homeless.
Laws protecting whistleblowers within the government have been suspended (by presidential fiat?), and those who speak out are savaged, silenced, fired and window-seated when they try to tell the public how our country has been ravaged by the greed of the corporate/government alliance.
In the name of phony war against a country that had no involvement in 9/11, the president has taken a tidy budget surplus left by the previous administration and turned it into a deficit that cannot be repaid in decades no matter how much the economy may grow. But no one is an iota more safe and the United States has been made a pariah in the eyes of the world.
Yet all of the above matters not a whit if our president cannot be convinced that global warming is not, as every reputable scientist on earth has shown us, junk science.
I haven’t begun to enumerate the enormity of the takeover of our country by the wealthy elite in business and government who make these decisions. Every public utterance from the president and his underlings is meant to obscure, obfuscate and keep hidden the crimes against the Constitution and the people of the United States that are going on in secret.
They have been able to do all this because they believed from the get-go that the citizenry is too disinterested in the workings of government to pay attention. And they are correct. As dangerous and craven as these people are, we are at fault for our complacency. For not speaking up. For not demanding, in numbers that cannot be ignored, that our government get that smirk off its face and operate by the rule of law - of, by and for the people.
For 250 years, the U.S. has experimented with democracy. It’s not perfect, but it so inspired the world that there are now successful democracies in at least 75 other countries. If we don’t do something now, it won’t be long before we wake up and find we are no longer one of them.
Just when strength is needed more than ever, I am so tired. Perhaps that was their plan all along.