Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Want My Country Back!

This is for all of those sobbing idiots, drooling into any microphone they can get their hands on. Like Billy Joel once sang, "The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."

Unless you are pining for the old days where the black folk that didn't know their place were shown it at the end of a rope, what have you lost? Or maybe we want George Bush's America, where the government felt free to attack it's citizen regardless of race.

My Husband, a wounded war veteran and I, also a veteran, we're moved to tears when we read of the 2008 Rainbow gathering being attacked by the Federal Forest Service.

I had the opportunity at attend a rainbow gathering, with my children several years ago. So, I can tell you with some authority and it is an amazing life-affirming event. It is a sort of a "hippie" gathering if you loosely define hippies as people to like to wear funky peasant clothes, maybe grow their hair long, and camp out for two weeks every summer, where on the 4th of July, there entire gathering holds hands forming a big circle and pray for world peace. But, most of the attendees are just people from all over the country, free spirits, gathering to sharing a peaceful communal experience.

Usually they find a big meadow, on national forest land that all citizens have the right to utilize for free. This is "The Church". They build campsites around the perimeter of the meadow. An American flag is flown in the center of the meadow. The camp sites are varied as the people who participate. I remember the sweet smell of bread coming from the "Lovin' Ovens" camp, where they build ovens from mud and rock and wood, and brought in #10 cans for the chimney and baking sheets.

And the Christian camp, where you could sit and listen to a sermon about loving your neighbor, and clean up in the showers they set up. The Hari Krishna camp, had the best cookies ever! There was even the Kitten camp and the Puppy camp, where campers could drop off their pets to be looked after for a while. Yeah, folks really did bring cats and dogs to the middle of nowhere.

There were trading posts, where American currency is worthless, but a chocolate bar could buy you any number of hand crafted treasures! From the camps there was the sound of music and laughter, and the smell of food. In The Church, a drum circle pounded out rich, intricate, primal rhythms 24 hours a day until the morning of July 4, when The Church and all the camps fell silent and all held hands to form a giant circle and we prayed for world peace.

Towards the far end of the meadow, the "Kiddie Kamp" was built. The campers build huge elaborate playscapes. True architectural marvels crafted from fallen tree limbs and rope. It was a fun place were patient, caring adults cooked for the children, and taught them crafts and songs. It was like the rest of the camps around The Church, a safe and happy place.

Since the gathering is about freedom and diversity, for those who preferred to drink alcohol, there was "A" camp, set apart form The Church and the rest of the camps. It was far enough where the ugliness inherent with alcohol consumption would not spoil the serenity of the meadow.

Day and night, people visited among the camps sharing conversation, music and food. And, yes, there was weed, just like you find at most concerts or outdoor events, but, surprisingly, it was not a major focus of the experience. It was sharing in a peaceful community built in the woods. No electricity, no generators, no TV or radios, no money. The campers provided there own patrols dedicated to the safety and security of the campers, and ensured that the rules of the forestry department were followed.

But in 2008, on July 3, the eve of the day of prayer, the government declared war on it's citizens. Through out the day, they toured the camps, kicking napping sun bathers awake, illegally searching the people and their private property, tearing up campsites, handcuffing and arresting campers for minor infractions. The campers remained passive. Those who had cameras recorded the scenes. One camper even followed along providing musical accompaniment with his horn.

Then later that evening, during supper time at "Kiddie Kamp", while some men and women were leading the children in prayer before the meal, while others were preparing to serve the meal, a formation of national law enforcement officers marched in battle formation into the camp.

Without warning or demands, they fire upon the adults and children in the camp. The rounds were pepper spray bullets. Not lethal, but not harmless. They shot the men and women who were protecting the children. They shot children. They even shot the children pet dogs. They shot those who were sitting and praying. They shot those who calmly asked them to leave. They shot those who asked why. They fired indiscriminately without reason, not caring who they hit or how many times they hit them.

They shot so many rounds at that small group of men, women and children, that from across the meadow, it looked as if a fire had broken out in Kiddie Kamp. The campers sounded an alarm, and everyone ran with containers of water to help put the fire out. Not until they arrived at the camp, did the realize that it was not a fire, but a vicious attack on the most vulnerable and innocent of the campers. And they too we fired upon.

No orders were issued to the campers, and there were no responses to the camper's questions when they asked why were they being fired upon. It was a silent and vicious attack on American citizens availing themselves to the public land set aside for their free use. They were not breaking the laws by being there. But the peaceful gathering of American citizens is not tolerated by our government, not even in the middle of nowhere.

And those that were shot, while they knelt and prayed? Did their prayers offend the officers?

Why? No legal reason of any kind. Maybe some people were smoking some pot, but never in the Kiddie Kamp Maybe some of the people in the "A" camp below the meadow were a little snockered. But even those infraction cannot justify assaulting the men, women and children that we merely camping together in the wilderness.

And you you think that there was an uproar? Do you think that people we infuriated that the government attacked children? Do you think that any of the officers involved we reprimanded in any way? Do you think there was any justice for those traumatized children? Were counselors sent in to help the kids deal with the trauma? Of course not. Because the government can do anything, and the rights of the people only exist when federal, state and local governments allow them to exist. It may be a surprise to a lot of people, but, the denial of citizens rights happens every day all across this nation.

It happens when those in power do not have to answer to the people that put them there. It happens when the people that put them there do not hold the government accountable. It happens when we decided that some people do not deserve the same rights we have because of their color, nationality, or social, religious or political affiliation. It happens when one group with power passes judgment of the lives and beliefs of those outside their group.

It happens in Austin, Texan, where the city police decide to try out their new bean bag rifles on unsuspecting party goers at the marti gras celebration downtown. They claimed they was a riot, but having been there, I saw no riot, only a stampede of frightened people when smiling officers on horseback began firing into the crowd.

It happens in San Jose, when officers stand over a man attending a concert in the park, and taze him over and over, because he is convulsing from the previous shocks.

It happens when a Bart officer in San Francisco can execute an unarmed man who is lying on the ground by shooting him point blank in the head.

It happens when a police officer can maliciously shoot and kill a little mexican girl's dog, as she plays with it in the street in front of her home.

It happens when a black child can be arrested because he is walking down the sidewalk in Texas.

It happens when no one cares.

It happens when we are too afraid to stand up for what is right.

And if you think this does not affect your sweet little law-abiding self, then I can only quote Jackson Brown... "Don't think it won't happen just because it hasn't happened yet." And when it does, who will stand up for you?

So, I find it hard to take people seriously to cry "I want my country back!". We, the people, never really had it, at least not freely. Sadly, we must struggle against our own government to enjoy our own constitutional rights. But no one wants to fight for actual justice. From my point of view, those sniveling idiots at the town hall meetings needn't worry, their country is alive and well and stinking to high hell.

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