"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." ~ John Adams
Is America a Place...Or a Vision?
It's not often I find something worth commenting on at World Net Daily. Since about the time of the September 11 attacks, and the subsequent "patrioter than thou" pro-neocon shift of Joseph Farah and his minions, that alleged news-site has gone off my daily rounds, probably for good. But every so often I find an article referenced elsewhere, one that stretches my disbelief even farther than usual. This was one of those days.
I found a ludicrous story, quoting Colorado Congressthug (and wanna-be Emper . . . err, President) Tom Tancredo, in which the Wall Around America advocate actually took George W. Bush to task: for not being xenophobic enough! This in itself is not surprising, since even President Bush himself has supported some variations on open borders, even while he continues to bomb and invade other sovereign peoples, and contemplate his next attacks. But Tancredo's most hilarious comment is the one quoted in the story's headline: "Bush doesn't think America should be an actual place."
Neither do I, Tom; it might be the first thing I've agreed with the current Fearless Leader poseur since . . . well the part of his alleged Socialist inSecurity reform plan that actually called for ending it! Of course, I don't mean the same thing Dubya does, when I affirm (much to Tom T's chagrin, I'm quite sure) that "America" should indeed be considered more than a mere geographical location, bounded by artificial lines on a map. For Bush, following in his Daddy's "New World Order" footsteps, it's all about Power, and the exertion of influence ' even to the point of using Force ' to control the doings of every other person on the planet, while creating a unified World Government STATE over all of us. At no time have we heard this vision presented as one that holds Liberty as any sort of value; instead it is promoted as a means of providing "Security" for us all. (Ben Franklin's spirit must have found a way to end its existence entirely by now, seeing nothing left to live for in any form.)
For me the picture is very different, and based on the heritage of this thing called "(the united states of) America." The American experiment was intended to be an exercise in individual liberty, not an excuse for a new empire to be built, on the same nationalist grounds that had provoked constant states of war among kings for the previous millennium.
This conglomeration of territories and "sovereign states" ' composed of and inhabited by "sovereign individuals" ' was intentionally called "the united states" of America, named after an explorer and not a conquering warlord, and designed to operate as a loose confederation of independent states, acting by consensus for the mutual benefit of their respective citizens. (We'll leave discussion of what the movement from Articles of Confederation to Constitution created instead ' for another time and place.)
Rep. Tancredo hates the idea of open borders, because they might allow the cultures of "non-Americans" to "contaminate the purity" of what is contained within the geographical and artificial boundaries that presently define "the USA." Being the xenophobe he is, he can't conceive of how freedom and justice might be expanded, to include other cultures around the globe, to the benefit and peaceful harmony of all concerned.
President Bush favors opening borders, and welcoming immigrants through our borders, but not because he embraces the concept of a free world without boundaries. On the contrary, he's focused on creating a world empire, in which we're all under the same thumb of the same dictatorship or coalition of them ' with him and his cronies in charge of it all. This has been made clearer with every move he makes: from the Iraq invasion to the USA PATRIOT Act, from Gitmo to the Military Commissions Act, he has stripped away the basic rights of Americans, and of everyone else in process, until the Bill of Rights no longer has any meaning.
I on the other hand believe in open borders and open hands. I support the idea, advanced in the fascinating allegorical parable, Hope, by the esteemed duo of L. Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman, of a "reverse Reconquista": a massive dropping of the Bill of Rights, translated into Spanish, all over Central America (we might also try French and English versions in Canada?), with the notation, "If you believe in these principles, come join us in a freer North America!" (The vision of one day crossing the Probability Broach into that North American Confederacy still seems well worth pursuing ' here and now, in this dimension.)
You see, I have this rather unusual faith that what the Founding Fathers had in mind, in establishing this American experiment, was to set an example for others in the world, to show how a truly free society ' based on the sovereignty of peaceable individuals with "unalienable" rights to pursue their own chosen goals ' might actually exist and prosper, and how they might create the same zones of impenetrability around themselves, in an expansion of this concept to as much of the world as could grasp it.
So for me, "America" is much more than a set of geographical boundaries; it's an ideal, one that's no longer even being lived out in most parts of the geography where it began, 220-some years ago. The fact that Herr Tancredo cannot comprehend this ideal, even when it is so poorly presented by the reigning despot in the White House, says more about why he should never get near that elected position than almost anything else.
George Bush knows all too well what that concept means, even if by his every action he seeks to destroy it and bring the population (both at home and abroad) more under his jackboot each day. He knows what it means, and he's petrified that enough Americans will have cause to remember those basic principles ' Individual Liberty, Personal Responsibility and Voluntary Community ' with minimal if any government involvement in the equation ' that they will start standing up and speaking their own truth to the powermongers who have been systematically destroying the wondrous experiment of human sovereignty this "America" really was.
If the people in this set of geographical boundaries, who term themselves "Americans," ever get it straight (and in sufficient numbers) that that word describes a vision, and not a mere piece of land on the globe, the Tancredos of the world ' as well as the Bushes, the McCains, and the other RepublicanT manipulators of this "illegal immigration" issue (along with their DemEAUcratic counterparts who play the other side of the card, while continuing to advocate global domination rather than open markets) ' all better be updating their resumes, and looking for work in the so-called "real" world.
There won't be much call for them in ours.