Political Protest, Coups, Military Intervention, Government Oppression, & Genocide: Why It Might Not Be So Wise to “Wake-Up,” “Move-On,” or “Rage Against the Machine”

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Has anyone seen how the Syrian people have been doing lately?  No, then tune-in to your favorite propaganda cable news service for a moment or two, and eventually you should see images of people who look like modern-day Holocaust victims.  People are falling dead in the streets of malnutrition, and those still alive are being evacuated from some Syrian cities but are unable to walk or even stand.  Then there are the crude barrel-bombs that have been dropped from helicopters to bomb Syrian rebel areas back to the stone-ages, along with the more surgical military strikes that have leveled entire neighborhoods all at once.  What did the Syrian people do to deserve such ethnic genocide and such horrific war crimes?  What was their crime against humanity that made them targets of their own government, enemy number one to their nation’s President? Initially, some kids wrote negative things about him on a wall somewhere outside their school.  A day of rage was planned, but few showed up, but after the kids were arrested and beaten, an uprising ensued.  For the uninformed, I shall provide the following excerpt from Wikipedia to enlighten those who have been living under a rock:

“The Syrian Civil War, also known as the Syrian Uprising,[71] is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba’ath government and those seeking to oust it. The unrest began on 15 March 2011, with popular protests that grew nationwide by April 2011. These protests were part of the wider North African and Middle Eastern protest movements known as the Arab Spring. Syrian protesters at first demanded democratic and economic reform within the framework of the existing government.

In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country.[72] After months of military sieges,[73] the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. The conflict is asymmetrical, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country.[74] In 2013, Hezbollah entered the war in support of the Syrian army.[75][76] The Syrian government is further upheld by military support from Russia, which it stepped up in the winter of 2013-14,[77] – and Iran, while Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United States[78][79] transfer weapons to the rebels.[80] By July 2013, the Syrian government was in control of approximately 30-40% of the country’s territory and 60% of the Syrian population.[81] A late 2012 UN report described the conflict as being “overtly sectarian in nature“, between mostly Alawite government forces, militias and other Shia groups[82] fighting largely against Sunni-dominated rebel groups,[83][84] though both opposition and government forces denied that.[85][86}

So, much like in the Ukraine currently, popular protests led to political instability, which led to unforeseen consequences that no one could have predicted, like Russia invading the Crimea.  This is the primary problem for all political reformers across the globe, they want “change,” “hope,” and “reform,” but what they get is “change,” “despair,” and “oppression.”  If you don’t believe me, just ask the Egyptians, or the Chinese!

In the American example, a new generation of outraged citizens are fed-up with the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, the EPA, and most of the other acronym behemoth unconstitutional monstrosities that make-up the unlimited Federal government of modern America.   So with the decline of democracy in America, and the rise of fascism, now when you go on the internet, you are inundated with posts to “Wake-Up” and “Move-On!”  However,  what those catchy slogans for change don’t mention is what happened to the Hippies when they tried to “make love and not war.”

Anyone out there old enough to recall the Kent State Massacre, or the 1968 Democratic Convention Police Riot?  Or, has anyone wondered why so many political assassinations occurred during that hectic time period in our nation’s history?  Or, has anyone ever read the COINTELPRO report about how our government dealt with political and social movements in the past?   These little “bumps in the road” to progress and reform cause a hell of a lot of distrust and anger, and it may help to explain why our nation’s trust in government is at an all time-low still forty years later.  However, these harsh and eye-opening lessons about protest, and the consequences of protest are not always easily learned or remembered in subsequent generations.  It would appear there is a generational lag-effect, much like the one all nations have for war.  If there hasn’t been a major uprising in a while, people forget what true oppression and repression feels like, and so the government feels obligated to remind them.The baby-boomers learned their lesson, that is why most of them cut their hair, put on suits and ties, and sold their ideals of love and peace, for more sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

The X-generation was no better, because for all our “rage against the machine,”  as the Smashing Pumpkins “Bullets with Butterfly Wings” lyrics should have made clear to us all back in the 90s, “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage!” And we were, so we bought our Birkenstocks, and our Third-World made tie-die shirts, and our hemp bracelets, but we didn’t wage war against the war wagers, because we didn’t want to lose our comfy place in line at the movie theater.  After all, as the 1998 movie of the year “Forest Gump” made clear to us all, Americans didn’t have to be the brightest bulbs on the shelf to succeed, or to have interesting lives, they just had to believe in God, country, and to know when to “run” rather than to stand their ground, and try to be a hero.  So, we learned to buy recycled products, eat what the government pyramid told us was good for us, and we tried to do like the popular song said, “Don’t worry, be happy.”   Perhaps that was why so few of the X generation really raged against the machine, even if they did have their own Woodstock.  It wasn’t until the Seattle WTO that protestors with big enough britches to oppose the New World Order did my generation proud.  But what just desserts where they given for their anti-globalism idealism and environmental concerns?  The Seattle police served-up tear-gas, rubber bullets, and mass arrests like pot-brownies at a Grateful Dead concert!

Since then, American protests against Iraq, and the Occupy Wall Street movements have had their moments in the sun, and rain, and snow, but for all their efforts, they never had the impact that Hoovervilles had on our nation’s political psyche almost a century ago.  Why?  At the onset of the Great Depression, America’s government was insensitive to the plight of the people, much like the Federal government now (since at least the Great Recession of 2008).  However,  once Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected, he initiated a “New Deal” for America that relied on Americans to trust their government enough to support the enlargement of the Federal system, presumably to do what was necessary and best for all Americans to have a better tomorrow.  And with war profits, and the advent of the G.I. Bill, the American Middle Class was born, and prosperity for all seemed right around the corner.  But then, when an educated Middle Class began questioning authority during the Vietnam war and fomenting civil unrest, it became very clear to the military-industrial complex that ignorance, poverty, drug-addiction, incarceration, and government dependency helped to ensure a future citizenry that would be far more pliant and pacified.  Apparently they were right, because it has been working.  This realization may help those who are still confused about why Barrack Obama’s presidency utilized the same approach as FDR with universal health-care and the expansion of the Federal government’s size and power, but has gone a different route when it comes to relying on the people’s trust in government to make it a reality.

The American people are disenchanted with Democracy and our government, and “a dark cloud is forming in the distance.”  As a result, it would appear “no one can stop the approaching storm” since the Federal government is perceived by many to no longer appear to be “for the people, by the people.”  So once again, America is at a political and economic precipice.  Issues like the national deficit, the government shut-down crisis, the Edward Snowden leaks regarding blanket NSA spying, gun-control, along with other revelations about America’s recent unconstitutional abuses of power committed in it’s perpetual “War on Terror” – enhanced interrogation techniques (like “water-boarding”), secret prisons, drone strikes on civilian targets – these atrocities have ignited some American’s indignation, and may yet initiate a chain-reaction of protest and unrest among the American citizenry that cannot be contained or appeased by our political or economic systems.

However, before we all “rush in [like fools] where angel’s fear to tread,” I would remind the struggling youth of our Nation, and all those who would use political revolutionary tactics to try to change our political and economic system to be careful what you wish for!  Political revolution is a Pandora’s box, and once you set it into motion, like war, it cannot be so easily controlled or guided in the right direction.  In fact, more often than not, once a people have broken free from the yoke of their oppressors, they find the “beast” (or the mob) that was being oppressed is far worse than the master (or government) that was trying to keep everything moving in the right direction.  For any of you who had a half-way decent English teacher in High School, the novel “A Tale of Two Cities” drove this basic point home in it’s description of the French Revolution.  So before we all yell “Off with their heads,” perhaps we should keep in mind what we ourselves may lose in the end in our efforts to win a pyrrhic victory.

The American people are known for their apathy when it comes to many political matters, but not for their restraint.  However, restraint may be essential in America in the future, if we wish to avoid the next great American civil-war, and if we want to ensure the American military is not called upon to quell civil unrest due to American protestors.  Protestors who’ve been labeled as terrorists simply because a government infiltrator or informer has committed a violent act during a peaceful protest to justify and legitimize heavy-handed tactics by the police/military against the movement.  This is how the military-industrial complex’s mass-media propaganda machine blames the movement for unrest (rather than admitting the primary role they play), and it is how they legitimize the stigmatization and government oppression of a group who only wish to compel the government to honor it’s pledge to the people.  “The road to hell was paved with good intentions,” so “put that in your pipe and smoke it” the next time you want to “wake-up” and try to convince war profiteers and the government war-machine to just “give peace a chance.”

Or, if you would prefer to continue to exercise your archaic constitutional rights, and you are prepared to be rounded-up, put in box cars, and transported to death camps for your radical political views against the STATE, then keep on “moving on” and I’m sure eventually the Federal government will give us all some “Change we can believe in.”  Although, believing in something, and wanting something are two different things.  I can believe in Hell and the Devil, but that neither means I want to meet the Prince of Darkness, nor do I wish for our nation’s citizens to have to go and visit him, simply because disgruntled idealists wish to tear-down the “house of cards” that is America’s current form of government.

“I love my country, but I fear my government,” is the new slogan for a new America, but with more guns and more people living below the poverty line than ever before, I fear the mob mentality and anarchy as much as I fear my current oppressive and “Peeping-Tom” government.  So, before we jump into the abyss of political and economic uncertainty, we had better make sure we have a societal safety-net (once called government) somewhere down below, or we may be taking “a leap of faith” into an impending doom of chaos and strife that will be darker than any previous Dark Ages in recorded history.  Only time will tell, if America will withstand the test of times, Van Halen will be proud if we succeed I’m sure, but in my heart of hearts, I would rather see “Lady Liberty” convalesced back to health, than witness the death of  the American Dream, and the rise of an American nightmare all within in my own lifetime.  For at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I would hate if most Americans ended-up just being “Bulls on Parade” and emulated Rage Against the Machine’s famous lyrics, “They rally around the family, with a pocket full of shells.”  But unfortunately, it seems many Americans have seen the writing on “the wall,” and they have already heeded the warnings.  But when you protest against your government, and try to topple or reform it, and the government takes exception to your revolution, the consequences of treason against the state (no matter how well intended) is death.  If you don’t believe me, just ask the Syrians.

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