by Allisone Heartsong © 12 January 2006 In God We Trust
ADDENDUM #1: January 27 2006You Say This is Your Country
To those ex-patriots of America who profess solidarity with the actions of Americans who are speaking out against the corruption and abuse of our Constitution and the rights it affords the American people:
To those who speak behind the veil of aliases from computers in coffee shops so their addresses cannot be traced:
To those who sit in easy chairs and try to pretend that nothing is wrong with corruption of the moral values of the country they live in, forgetting their responsibility to their own personal values in the process:
How can we trust you when you say you have our backs? You say we are your courage – no we are not. We are ours. You will have to find yours and stand with us if you want this country back.
How can we trust you when you write from other countries speaking of this country as if it were still your home? If it is your home, then why are you not here defending it?
How can we trust teachers and professors who say they are activists for this country, and yet tell us that they now write from abroad and encourage others to dissent through their writing? Who is going to believe that? You say you love your country? Where is your country? Is it America? Then why are you not here defending it?
You say you are teaching in other countries, working with students who care about global peace efforts. But you left us. Who is here teaching our students? What does your running do to demonstrate the power we have to change the corruption your country now faces? What does your moving away do when you are leaving bright-minded students in America who could learn from you to be the change we need? Or is it your country? You are not here.
How can we trust those who write copious amounts of activist rhetoric from computers with addresses that trace to nowhere? You say you stand by our sides in solidarity. How can we know that? With aliases and unknown addresses you are not seen. We have learned not to trust what will not come into the light.
For those in easy chairs believing that soldiers are fighting for your freedom, wake up and turn the movie off. Soldiers are dying because you refuse to do anything for yourself. Soldiers are dying because of your apathy and selfish conviction that as an American, your taxes buy your freedom on the blood of men you will never know.
For those who write of their inactions in another war, who regret running from service and not then having the courage to stand openly against the actions that made you run, don’t regret what you didn’t do. Do it now. Be strong enough to have the courage now.
One person will not save this country. Thousands of protest marches will not save this country, and yearlong discussions of what went wrong will not save this country. Writing of what you see from across the border will not save this country. Turning another reality show on and grabbing more potato chips, believing that our soldiers are saving this country, will most definitely not save this country.
Individuals will save this country. One at a time, working together. Individuals will make the difference when we realize that we must look at ourselves and what we have become. We must seek to be the change in our individual lives that we want to see in our country.
Simple acts can change what we now face. It takes many tugboats to turn a giant ship around, but to do so the tugboats must work together: the operative word being “WORK.” Each one of us is a tugboat. But the ship isn’t turning because still too few are working, and many are working against each other.
As we speak out against the corruption and disregard our administration shows for the laws defined by our constitution, we must remember to uphold those same laws in our actions. Disrespecting private property, defacing public property, and not allowing others the right to express their views when they differ from ours, simply to make a statement against the actions of our government, does little to restore the foundation of laws that is our constitution. Closing down recruiting offices because we don’t like war does little to give others the freedom to choose. Setting up counter recruiting stations beside the recruiting offices to educate people to their choices gives them the knowledge to make the right choice for them, and upholds the constitution we are fighting so hard to defend.
Demanding a higher standard from our government by demonstrating a higher standard in our actions makes for a far stronger, more believable statement with respect to the changes we are trying to encourage.
We must work for a common goal, but we must realize that until we all work with the same standard, the same direction and as common team members, change will not happen.
Working against a system that is corrupt is overwhelming; a formidable task destined to fail when we believe that we must fight that system at its level. With every failed attempt more people desert the cause, run to another country, change their name, stop trying and turn the TV louder.
We do not have to change the system. We only have to change ourselves. As the people become the change, the system will become what the people have chosen. We must raise our standards, and know that because we maintain respect for ourselves we can expect the same from others.
We should demand that the work we ask of others be the highest standard possible. We can only do this with a clear conscience if we know that we are giving the highest standard possible in the work that we do.
We should expect that our children be taught well in the schools our taxes pay for. But we can only demand that if we know that, as parents, we have not forsaken our children in our own responsibilities to them.
We should ask that our community programs provide the kind of quality that we expect of the tax dollars we put into them. But we can only demand that if we are willing to participate in the programs, actively contributing to ensure that the standards are maintained.
We should expect that our government act with high moral standards and accountability to those it serves. But we can only do that if we give attentiveness to the process with the same moral standards and ethical principles that we demand of the government.
We can make America what it is now only professed to be. We can bring moral values and ethical principles back to our government. We can raise a new generation of Americans who will not want to leave when the going gets a little tough.
How can we do that? -- By living our individual lives with the same standards of moral values and ethical principles that we demand of our country as a whole. By holding our government accountable for their actions, and by not running from our responsibilities as Americans, living in America, we can restore what is now in disarray.
How do we change a country? The answer is simple. We start by changing ourselves.
Monica Benderman is the wife of Sgt. Kevin Benderman, a Conscientious Objector wrongfully imprisoned at the Ft. Lewis RCF in Washington, for taking a principled stand to defend our constitution and the rights it gives all American citizens. Please visit www.BendermanTimeline.com and www.BendermanDefense.org to learn more.
Monica and Kevin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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