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The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 11:11

Spirituality and Move to Amend

Written by  Gregory

Unitarian Universalist Spirituality and Move to Amend

On Sunday we began to explore Unitarian Universalist spirituality and the formation of one's identity. One aspect of a Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice I drew attention to was the need for the awareness of how historical heritages influence development of ourselves and community. The term historical heritage applies to both your personal history and your cultural/faith tradition history and I gave several examples. Here are two; 1) how supporters of universal health care find themselves in a historical line that includes Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Paine, and many others. 2) how anti-gay supporters find themselves in the historical line of Montana's Republican Party (present-day), Rick Warren (conservative Christianity of the 21st century) several countries in Africa (Uganda and Rwanda) Nazi Germany, the Inquisition, the Spanish conquerors of the new world, and many others. Being aware of the historical river in which you swim, flow, live gives you conscious choices about how to live, change and think rather than passively moving through your life possibly supporting values you really don't support. In doing this spiritual practice we find ourselves in the linage of W.E. Channing, “I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith.” Another example of bringing awareness to a historical linage to help our community in deciding direction and projects for our church is described below.

One Thursday night the 16th of September, David Cobb, representing Move to Amend identified and confronted us with a choice about the historical struggle between transnational corporations and democracy. This can be problematic, for many of us have benefited from corporate power and dominance even as corporations have dismantled our representational democracy. We're not without historical warning of this dismantling. Abraham Lincoln wrote to his friend Col. William Elkin reflecting upon the Civil War, “it has indeed been a trying hour for the republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.” (p.88) And another quote, from Thom Hartman's book, Unequal Protection, “the citizens of the colonies were preparing to throw off one of the corporations that for almost 200 years had determined nearly every aspect of their lives through its economic and political power.” (p.56) Here we can identify the history of corporations structuring society and governing the citizens within its reach. From the revolutionary war efforts we see the revolutionary war was more about throwing off the yoke of the East Indian Corporation supported by British solders in agreement with the king of England rather than what I learned in high school. We beat England and were free and studied the battles rather than the oppression of the corporation that motivated the fore parents of our nation. And then follow the struggle between the corporate wold and our democracy.

In the case of the Civil war we see a pattern that when the nation is at war, corporations gain power and misdirected tax dollars away from the citizenship and domestic programs into the hands of corporations ever centralizing power and money. A good example of this is when Democratic President Woodrow Wilson broke his campaign promise to the people, promising neutrality in relationship to the war in Europe. I quote Senator La Follette, “with the first clash and great European war came President Wilson's solemn appeal, “the U.S. must be neutral in fact as well as in name.' But when you can boost stocks 600 percent in manufacturing munitions, to the bottomless pit with neutrality! What do Morgan and and Schwab [head of Bethlehem Steel] care for world peace when there are big profits The Schwab properties which stood at a market value of seven millions before they began supplying the Allies are today given an aggregate value of 49 millions. And now we are about to engage in furnishing the Allies funds. We are underwriting the success and the cause of the Allies. 'We have ceased to be neutral in fact as well as in name.'”

In the early struggle of whether to go to war or not, the will the people the country is pitted against the growing power of corporations. “The American people could not be easily rallied to a war for monopoly's profits. From 1914 on public opinion was divided, with much of it against the war. There was a strong pacifist tendency in the country which gravitated around Jane Adams and William Jennings Bryan. Opposed to this tendency was the Army and Navy advocates, who launched a preparedness movement. Most active in this connection was the national security league, which was supported by Brady of New York Addison, DuPont of the nation's industry, Perkins of U.S. Steel,Guggenheim of the copper trust, J.P. Morgan, and John D. Rockefeller.” (Labor the Untold Story, p. 195) The point I am highlighting here is that the people of our nation have been at odds with corporations since 1776 and before. However not knowing this history creates an environment where the people can be manipulated by the power and methods of communications of corporations. Move-to-Amend and David Cobb's work is in direct response to the recent decision by the Supreme Court , Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205. Now we experience the Supreme Court and the trans-national corporate world at odds and against the majority of the people in this nation. So we ask the question where was this majority when electing officials who placed these Judges in this position to change the very nature of our nations being? Why did we wait until after the fact?

This pattern of transnational corporations' winning the favor of government against the people is clearly present today. When NAFTA passed, 68 percent of the population was against this treaty, the majority of Americans wanted some form of governmental health-care, the majority of Americans want out of the wars in the middle east, the majority of Americans want a strong governmental effort in transitioning away from fossil fuels to a cleaner technology. Each of these changes have meaning for the economic, social, and cultural structure of our nation. They would change economic power. Remember the quote above,“the citizens of the colonies were preparing to throw off one of the corporations that for almost 200 years had determined nearly every aspect of their lives through its economic and political power.” Here we are again. The illusion that we are a democracy is strong, but when the people attempt to exercise the inherent power of a democracy, and determine how they want to live or create a land that benefits a greater number of people, corporations or the owners of corporations send two conservative billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch to create a voice machine that hypnotizes the people to fight against their own well being. (See What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, Thomas Frank) And somehow the illusion is maintained. The push to end economic stabilizing programs, privatize the public commons, end the social safety net, all threads in our cultural tapestry that makes our nation great are the focus of protest from those angry with government. And we hear no protest over military spending (654 billion this year) and the interest on debt incurred in past wars ($57.7–$228.1) billion a year. Military spending is the entitlement program of many trans-national corporations. And notice our, our, military is formed, maintained, sustained and planned by trans-national corporations. A national security issue? And now they have the means and pathways to determine who is in office.

David Cobb has made it clear, the choice is are you for us (democracy) or against us (trans- national corporate rule); there is no middle ground. I am reminded of W.E. Channing's words, “I call that mind free Which opens itself to light whence so ever it may come; which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.” Well the angel that is speaking the words of truth about the history and fight for power of the people versus corporations comes like thunder. And it is this thunder and lighting striking that clears away all nonsense and leaves only one choice in the middle of the field: you are for democracy or you are not. To support the power of corporations is a decision against democracy. To support the movement back toward democracy is against trans-national corporate rule. But can we hear? Have we been so domesticated that the TV, computer, racing thoughts in our own minds busy protecting belief systems, disconnected to any earth reality hinder the ears from hearing. How loud does the thunder need to get. Tanks coming down the street, railroad cars for you and your neighbors, millions losing their homes, millions losing their jobs and places of work, millions not having health care while CEOs get paid millions and billions a year. The storm is not coming. It is here. Like the living dead many are infected with disease from the storm and do not know it. Come join us in waking up and help us wake up others. Truly let us partake in taking back our country.

Gregory

Last modified on Sunday, 19 February 2012 20:53
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