Quote of the Day: "Courage is grace under pressure.” — Ernest Hemingway
We predicted it before the election. The new Republicans will be like the old Republicans.
Consider the mounting evidence . . .
* GOP leaders are proposing only $68 billion in spending cuts, even though the deficit is $1.4 trillion.
* They're also violating the promises they made about following new procedures.
EXAMPLE: GOP leaders rushed the Patriot Act extension to the floor on Tuesday, without warning, hearings, deliberation, debate, OR READING, in spite of their so-called "Read the Bill" rule!
In other words, it was just like the old days. So don't be surprised by the result . . .
The Patriot Act was defeated.
That sounds exciting, but it isn't. Here's why . . .
All that happened was that a handful of new Republicans joined with the Democrats to give the GOP leadership a slap in the face. But this move was purely tactical, NOT principled. Most of the "new" Republicans still voted for the extension, even though the Patriot Act violates the Constitution.
Please be clear about this . . . New Republican does NOT mean Different Republican. This is why we must sadly predict the following . . .
We're going to lose on the Patriot Act extension.
* President Obama wants to retain the Patriot Act's powers, so the Democrats will fall in line to give him that on the next vote,
* And many of the Republicans who voted no on Tuesday will switch their vote to yes next time.
In other words, our Tuesday victory was only temporary, because . . .
Fear is the orthodox American position.
And we believe we must challenge this fear with a powerful heresy.
We hope that you will take the time to give our heresy careful consideration, and perhaps join with us in shouting to the world . . .
"I Am Not Afraid!"
Here's the argument . . .
Terrorists aim to cause fear, and by feeling fear we've given them what they want.
But this also means that we can win the war on terror instantly, simply by NOT being afraid.
This will defeat the terrorists' intentions immediately, and completely.
Our new-found courage will also correspond to reality, because fearing the terrorists is like a cat fearing a mouse. All the terrorists in the world amount to no more than an anemic mosquito on the snout of a whale. The fact is . . .
There are more murders by American criminals each year than have been committed by terrorists in the past two decades. But we don't trash the Constitution because of it, as we have in the face of terrorism.
This statistical truth makes it very clear that Americans have VASTLY OVERREACTED to the terrorist threat, and the politicians have encouraged and exploited our cowardice to expand the power of The State.
If Ernest Hemingway had the right definition of courage — “grace under pressure” — then our country has shown little grace in the face of not much pressure. To us, the official “War on Terror” amounts to one giant national cringe.
We can do better, with less effort and more grace.
There is really only one way to win a war on terrorism. Stop being afraid!
Achieving this victory does not require large armies, invasions, illegal spying, torture, detention camps, Kangaroo courts, or multi-billion dollar Congressional appropriations. Neither does it require us to shred the Bill of Rights or the Geneva Conventions. All it requires is a little backbone. And a little common sense.
The minute the first politician proposed the first imposition on the Bill of Rights, the first call to invade Iraq, or the first request for large new bureaucracies to fight the anemic mosquito, the terrorists won, and we lost.
And they've been winning, and we've been losing, ever since.
Can we stop being afraid?
Here's what it means to not be afraid . . .
Here's what it means to fight a real war on terror . . .
And here's what it means to win that war, instantly . . .
It means that you do not participate in the public hysteria when terrorists attack, but instead react proportionally, placing the terrorist act in its proper place in the vast scheme of crimes, accidents, disease, natural disaster, and generic tragedy that is man's lot on earth.
It means that you do not permit the politicians to feel terror on your behalf. It means that you discourage them from fomenting and exploiting hysteria to expand their own power at the expense of traditional American principles.
It means that you declare your lack of fear to the politicians, and recruit others to adopt your war winning strategy of not being afraid. You can do this by sending Downsize DC's "I Am Not Afraid" declaration to Congress. It reads . . .
“I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.”
I send this declaration to Congress on a regular basis, to remind them that some of us are not afraid. I did so again this morning, and added, in my personal comments, a request that they repeal the Patriot Act.
I feel strongly that we must continue to withdraw our consent for the bad things Congress does until finally they submit to obey the Constitution. If we do NOT do this, then we are sanctioning their crimes through our submissive silence.
You can send your "I Am Not Afraid" declaration to Congress using Downsize DC's Educate the Powerful System, through the "I Am Not Afraid" campaign on the "Our Heresies" page: https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/77