The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy

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The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George”
by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
(Part one in series May 9, 2008)
Like many students in the Unites States of America, I have read and studied the Declaration of Independence written and adopted by the new Congress on July 4, 1776.  I must admit however, that many decades have past since my last real study of this important political document. The study of our own history here in the USA is part of all formal studies across the country. However, most of us never have cause to revisit these critical pieces of written history that are still meant to guide our country and its leadership in all dealings with the citizens here.

Most average Americans can recall certain famous passages, but I doubt that many can recite larger portions of this document from memory. With a growing need to remind myself of these earliest political platforms, I felt compelled to return to these historic words once again.

 
The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy
 
The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George” 
(Part one in series)
 
I was curious to examine just how far we may have diverged and wandered from the original “road map to Democracy” that our founding leaders risked their very lives to produce for all generations to come.  With a sense of urgency, I plunged into the Declaration of Independence with a passion like I had never experienced in my early days as a simple student in a classroom.
 
The opening few paragraphs are probably the most recognizable portions of the entire document. Most of us have heard these sentences repeated in political speeches, in patriotic songs or such things.The greatest surprise awaited me as I journeyed further into this historic piece of writing.
 
The beginning of this critical document reads:

“The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Most of us will instantly recognize the portion that reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As young students, we studied the political history that led the original colonists to create the Declaration of Independence. The very foundation of the United States of America was based upon the needs of the people dwelling in this new land. The writers proclaimed their independence from England and all other outside governments by including these words,
  • “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”
As I read further, my mental state progressed from a place of historical reverence for the words set down by the early leadership and on to shock, disbelief and outright anger. I re-read the document several times to be certain that I was truly seeing what I thought I was reading.
 
Sadly, I was indeed reading these words and the descriptions of exactly what claims were being laid against England. The most ironic and alarming point to this comparison is the realization that the ruler of England at this time in history was none other than the King of Great Britain, George the III! 

At the sudden reminder of this long forgotten piece of history, I fell into uncontrollable laughter. I then launched into the document in search of more comparisons between what our ancestors accused King GEORGE of, and what many citizens in the USA are complaining of with our modern day GEORGE, the current leader of the USA, President George Bush. 
 
Though the ironic and perhaps comical overlapping of names was the beginning point for me, further examinations inside the Declaration of Independence yielded results that were anything but amusing.
 
The original grievances the colonies listed against Britain and King George III are presented in part, below. At each placement of the word, “He” remember that they are referring to King George. As you read these statements, you may begin to see resemblances to accusations made about our current President, GEORGE Bush.

  • “The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. 
 
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.  

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
 
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

As I read each of these statements from the original Declaration of Independence, I began to see several glaring similarities to our current political behaviors in the USA. I am not a political analyst, pundit, media television news host, or corporate-owned journalist. On the contrary, I am a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of the United States of America who also serves as a journalist. I may be inaccurate in some of my assessments here, but I believe that there is enough accuracy in my comparisons between these two leaderships as to warrant some serious analysis by other citizens of the USA.
 
Several political events that have taken place during the period of time that George Bush has served as President of the United States are comparable to many of the accusations the colonists first made against King George III.
 
The Bush administrations’ Patriot Act, the development and enormous expansion of the  Homeland Security Agency, and massive increase in domestic surveillance upon its own citizens is one glaring comparison to the ruler ship of King George III.

The U.S. Congress has had numerous bills and potential laws go before the President for his signature only to be told outright that he, referring to the President,
 
  • “refuses to sign any bill from them unless it contains exactly what I WANT included in it…”
 
Appointed leaders inside the Bush administration appear intent on gaining exclusive protection for those who are also members of the inner circle nearest the President. They have been offered immunity, Presidential pardons and more “Get out of Jail Free” cards than at any time in history. 
 
More tax-payer money has been misspent, lost, redirected, or falsely appropriated to those corporations involved directly with the elected governmental leadership than a journalist can even report on.
 
A brief list of accusations against this administration include, but are certainly not limited to:
  • Questionable actions taken by the White House, National Security Council, State Department, Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency related to the United Nations and Iraq Security Groups initial inspections of Iraq.
  • The detention of people suspected of terrorist activities or connections to such activities and held in foreign prisons for interrogations by the U.S. Many such people were never provided legal counsel or knew exactly what they were accused of.
  • The “secret” meetings of top-level advisors to the White House including current elected officials, where private discussions yielded the new policies and guide lines for “approved” torture techniques later used against suspected “terrorists.”
  • Since 2005, numerous local governments have introduced and passed resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Bush and members his administration.  Among the states that have filed impeachement recommendations are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

On May 21, 2006, the Alaska Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and World Bank President (and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.) The resolution cited “the unjustified invasion of Iraq,” the administration’s “felonious warrantless wiretaps,” and “gross incompetence in response to natural disasters, stewardship of the economy and the environment.”

On April 21, 2006, California State Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-Calif.) submitted Joint Resolution No. 39, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
 
Among the list of suggested impeachable offenses were:

  • a.    Misleading Congress and the American people regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify an unnecessary war that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives and casualties
  • b.    Exceeding constitutional authority by Federalizing the National Guard.
  • c.    Spying on American citizens in violation of the 1978 Foreign Agency Surveillance Act
  • d.    Holding American citizens without charge or trial
 
The list of complaints and alleged constitutional violations goes on and on yet no matter what the citizens of the United States of America demand from their leadership, there has yet to be action taken. No one in the elected leadership demands full accountability from the President or his extended administration.
 
“We the People” have seemingly been ignored.
 
 
Our demand for full disclosure regarding facts surrounding the “Oil for Food” scandal, the false comments made about September 11th bombings, the war in Iraq, or the endless string of “Presidential Pardons” have been ignored.
 
The muzzling of journalists, scientists and agencies that may endanger the “facts” as the Bush administration would have them be known continues on with impunity.
 
The citizens of the United States appear to be “ham-strung” by their own leadership. There is no movement toward accountability though our websites, media outlets and governmental documents are saturated with evidence of misconduct.
 
I am simply a member of the vast “We the People” in this country and am not an expert on political affairs. However, I believe that the average American citizen deserves the basic information laid out before them. They may then conduct their own investigation into the facts surrounding the very real decline in political morals in this country.

The original Declaration of Independence is one of the guiding beacons for our democracy. How far we have veered from its original directive is for those professional analysts out there to decipher. I am but one citizen who, on a certain day, discovered the alarming similarities between KING GEORGE vs. PRESIDENT GEORGE.

I can only hope that the citizens of this country awaken to the realities around them and soon realize that the time for true action is now.  I hope they will take heed to the historic words from our founding fathers as they move forward to create a true democracy;

  • “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
 
 
(All rights reserved, permission to reprint this article must be granted by author, Shelley Bluejay Pierce by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
 
Shelley Bluejay Pierce is an investigative journalist covering political, environmental and indigenous rights issues. Her work appears in numerous written publications and online websites worldwide and is a frequent guest on radio shows addressing these issues.

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