Saturday, March 10, 2007

An alert and knowledgeable citizenry

I wasn't quite sure what it would take for me to post again here.

Turns out it was a movie.

Why We Fight is an indictment of American citizens for their (our) failure to arrest the militarization of our country. It's something that both my friend Karl and I have written about in the past here at A Civil Union.

It left me feeling bitter - not at George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or Paul Wolfowitz or Bill Kristol or Donald Rumsfeld or any of the other (puppet)eers - but at my own resignation. I suppose writing when it's raw is a first step for me in processing the message of this film.

The backbone of the movie was President Eisenhower's Farewell Address. Throughout the film, clips of the president's speech are played in juxtaposition to recent news footage that throws Eisenhower's warning back in his sad face.

I've excerpted here the parts of his address that spoke to me most profoundly. I encourage whoever still visits this remnant of a blog to click the link above and find the parts that speak most to you.


"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

"As we peer into society's future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage."

"Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect."

"Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose."

"We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love."

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