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Sun

16

Sep

2007

Reflections on Reality and Ideals
Sunday, 16 September 2007 09:59
by Dr. Paul J. Balles

Dozens of articles have spilled out of many computers opposing the US government's policies and actions toward Iraq. Our resistance ran from the sanctions to the "shock and awe" days, followed by the invasion and occupation.

What many of us wrote got widely distributed, but had little effect. We were preaching to the converted; and they cheered. Dozens of online websites carried our critiques of George W Bush, Richard Cheney and the neocons. The mainstream media ignored us. They still do

Mike Whitney, a prolific writer, wants a revolution in America, primarily because:

"...the congressmen and senators have refused to do their jobs (and)... agreed that Bush is above the law.”

Here's Mike's case:

"Every day we read about some new attack on our freedom. Every day our constitution is further trashed. This week Bush banned public demonstrations against the war. Last month he issued an executive order that makes himself dictator if another terrorist attack takes place inside the US. The month before that the Congress passed a law that makes it easier for Bush to declare martial law and militarize the country."

Mike says that Peter Finch points the way in his movie "Network".

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The newscaster in Finches movie wants everyone to get up, go to the window and shout "I'm not gonna take this anymore. I'm mad as hell!" By the end of the film, he has everyone shouting from their windows in unison.

Ahhh, if only it could happen; but like the youngsters who swoon when they see or hear their favourite idol, the smiles on the faces turn to a grimace once they’re away from the theatre or TV and walking along reality street.

What is it that keeps the ideals from becoming reality? Why can't horrid truths, like those Mike Whitney reviews, and inspiring films, like Finch's, move the public into action to cure its ills? A number of things are working against a revolution, no matter how badly it's needed or how threatened the public may be by those in power.

First of all, fear provides a major hurdle: fear of retribution from the lords of the land and fear of sacrificing a familiar status quo, including one's job, friends or family.

Next, even more difficult to overcome, is apathy. Liberties and freedoms may be squeezed by a self-declared dictator like George W Bush, but until "the shoe pinches," the squeezing won't hurt most people enough to get them to act.

Finally, the doubters need more than an astute analysis of the nation's problem by intelligent commentators. By the time the doubters get answers to all of their questions, we will have had a terrorist attack and be living under martial law.

Can we turn enough people into believers of the harsh truths about what's going on before it's too late? We need a leader who can speak to the masses the way Martin Luther King spoke to the believers on civil rights.

Can we find a group of American radicals like early revolutionaries Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Josiah Quincy, and Alexander McDougall to combine with moderate intellectuals like John Dickinson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin?

We could do with a Cindy Sheehan to go after the dual loyalists in Congress. Only two presidential candidates, Congressmen Dr. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, are worthy of consideration. Both are honest and despite different party affiliations, are not controlled by AIPAC.

We need a leader with the passion and integrity of George Galloway and Keith Olbermann, a leader who can match fact-finding and truth-telling about the malevolence with a positive message that will lead us out of servitude.

Dr. Paul J. Balles has lived and worked in the Middle East for 38 years - first as an English professor (Universities of Kuwait and Bahrain), and for the past eight years as a writer, editor and editorial consultant. He's had more than 250 articles published, focusing on companies, personality profiles, business profiles, women achievers, journalists and the media, the Middle East, American politics, the Internet and the Web, consumer reports, Arabs, diplomats, dining out and travel. He has also edited seven websites. His book, Under an Arabian Sky is awaiting publication. 
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