July 14, 2006

We Should Know How To Be Free

It’s a little bit tricky to blog anything from where I’m staying in rural Costa Rica that hasn’t been prepared in advance, so this entry will be briefer than I would like.

When I read this dKos post on the London Times article regarding the implosion of Baghdad, as a community, as a place where life can be about more than bare survival, as a place where such a thing as a ‘safe neighborhood’ exists, it made me think of this graffiti here in town. I’m told that as few as 10 years ago, any sort of political statement all the way down here, many hours from the capital by bus and in an area where many houses still have no phones and barely any have hot water, would have been unheard of. But here it is.

Sepgamos ser libres. No servios menguados de Bush y USA. No al TLC. Coto Brus, Costa Rica, 6-29-06. – natasha

The English translation is approximately as follows: We should know how to be free. Not mindless servants of Bush and the U.S.A. No to CAFTA.

TLC stands for Tratado de Libre Comercio and is the way the Central American Free Trade Agreement is referred to in America del Sur. Though the graffiti is about CAFTA, another plan to liberate money and make debt bondage slaves of human beings, the sentiment is one that should ring from every corner of the world, including the United States. Especially the United States.

The Constitution did not establish a nation of, by and for the government. It did not establish a nation of, by and for the wealthy few who can purchase access to great power. This is why the U.S. government doesn’t issue titles of nobility. Never has, powers that be willing, never will. Our nation is for all of us. Our government’s job is to serve the people.

As a member thereof, I am not served when the world at large has nearly 900,000 new refugees with plenty more on the way, courtesy of a war my government started.

I am not served when my embarrassment of a president insists that he needs another $110 billion for this vile, meat grinder of a war whose odious stench has filled every corner of the world with disgust.

I am not served when his administration enriches and protects its friends at the expense of healthcare, education and basic public services. They can add all the new, theoretical, going-forward oversight they want, but that public money sleeps with the fishes.

I am not served when my country’s security is trotted out as a campaign showpiece, then treated exactly like a joke, or even actively damaged for petty revenge.

I am not a servant of my government, my government should be my servant. It’s doing a piss-poor frakking job. And though I should know how to be free, how to demand that my government start acting like it represents me, I get the sinking feeling that I don't have the first real clue.

This is about more than electing people that are better than the ones we have now, useful as that is. It's about knowing how to make demands, hold people to account and get meaningfully heard. To believe and act without any need to have inferiors or a sense of subordination to those 'above' me, to believe my equality (and hence, everyone else's) to be self-evident. Because this war is a disgrace to the principles of equality under which I've been raised to understand my own rights, for a government that represents me to hold the lives and security of Iraqis, let alone its own citizens, to be of so little consequence.

Freedom is about how I am, not who I vote for. So what would a free person do about this war and it's wake of destruction, boh foreign and domestic? I ask that because I'm not sure that the answer is, "Exactly what I've done already."

Posted by natasha at July 14, 2006 11:24 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |