Sean P. Pratt

Civil Rights

.: Exercise Your Rights

 

Civil Rights are the foundation of our freedom: the necessary building blocks for democracy and equality. Bigotry, although pushed back by years of civil rights movements and anti-discriminatory legislation, is still rampant in American society. This sad fact is a truism. No matter how liberal or modern we think we are, most all of us judge everyone else on appearance, wealth, and ideology. In fact, this is exactly what they want us to do. If we fight each other and focus hate on each other, we ignore what they are doing. So who are they you ask.

 

They are the multi-national corporations, banks and investors who direct legislation and public opinion via lobby firms, political payoffs, and think tanks that spew dis-informational studies and reports. The Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation are just two of the many groups funded by big businesses (like ExxonMobil) to create reports that attempt to obliterate the facts about such issues as Global Warming and pollution, homosexual parents, the causes of terrorism, the effects of marketing and so on.

 

So what do these think tanks and corporate raiders have to do with civil liberty? First of all they divide us as a nation. Any solidarity that we should have as working class and poor citizens is driven right out of our heads. Marketing and advertising firms seek to manufacture wants and needs. There is also a hidden cost; the way we perceive is also manipulated. We are judged by how much we earn, what status symbols we own, and so on. We are likewise driven further apart socially. Our information comes at us a million megabytes/megahertz a minute and we rely on these politicians, media centers, and think tanks to assess the issues for us. We are fat, lazy, and sickly as a nation. Consequently, civil liberties are being chipped away at. The response is lukewarm disdain and malaise at best.

 

We should be taking to the streets to fight for the rights of homosexuals, as they are people too. We should take to the streets to stop the rendition and torture of Muslim “enemy combatants” who are only suspected because of coerced testimony provided by other torture victims. Remember that the Inquisition got us nothing but lies from its victims who only sought to end the torture at any cost. We should be tearing up the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, presidential signing statements, and the renditions program. We should be indicting the entire Bush cabinet members from both terms.

 

Unprecedented right? Well, set the precedent. There are no professional politicians who represent us. It is time to fire (impeach) them and if necessary, charge them with crimes. I am passionate about my civil rights. If we are to support our troops and they are supposed to defend our freedom, then giving up our rights (like the 4th Amendment) means they are dying and being mutilated for nothing. In fact, if our troops were to truly defend our rights, they would attack Congress and Pentagon.

 

Regardless of your views on my rhetoric, we must all exercise our rights or they will be gone. Vote, speak out, contact your representatives, write an op-ed, form civil groups, join a union, read all sides of an issue and most importantly...fight the power. But do so with knowledge. The extremism manifest in the various Tea Party groups has lowered the bar. We are better than this. We can rise above the ignorance and under-educated ravings of people like Glenn Beck, Ken Ham, and Sarah Palin. It is not chic to be dumb, nor is it a sign of patriotism to exhibit intolerance and belligerence.