Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Deja Vu

Sometime last week, I remember seeing a reference to the Declaration of Independence.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,

At the time, I was reading through my daily list of politcal blogs, which led to a daydream about the current administration occupying the White House. Let's say I had a full blown Walter Mitty moment, lasting quite awhile.

While I think I'll save my 'vision' for another post, the reason I mention it, it compelled me to visit, which is a great resource for documents regarding American History.

So, on to my point. Which I'm sure some have deduced from the title of this post.

Let's begin with the opening put forth by the congress of men, who on July 4, 1776, unanimously declared for the thirteen united State of America:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

If you think you're being governed unfairly, out of respect for public opinion, you should put forth your reasons for saying so. Straighforward.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Here are the rights in question, and an explaination on who and how they are enforced. Which brings us to the section which leads this post.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;

Anytime the government disregards our rights to such a degree that it's harmful for the population at large, we reserve the right to remove it from governance. This we will not do for minor or petty reasons. This next part is where we get to the meat of the affair.

and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

History has shown us that men have suffered at the hands of tyrants, and have found it easier to suffer than fight back. But, if it goes on too long, they have the right and duty to rid themselves of the tyranny, and establish a new order to protect their rights for the future.

So, there we have the basis for our split from King George. What follows in the Declaration, is the exacting reasons he has impinged on the above. And the point of my title.

dé·jà vu
1. Psychology The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.
a. An impression of having seen or experienced something before: Old-timers watched the stock-market crash with a distinct sense of déjà vu.
b. Dull familiarity; monotony: the déjà vu of the tabloid headlines.
[French : déjà, already + vu, seen.]

Please remember, the following was written over two hundred years ago.

The transgressions of King George III:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

If you have been paying attention these past six years, the bold lettering above should have make you sit up a little straighter. We have all heard the line that failing to remember history will doom us to repeat it, or similar words. The fact that we're ignoring such obvious history may mean we're already doomed.

I've highlighted sixteen or so of the twenty-seven listed greivances that appear to have relevance to current events. How is it we fought off one King George two hundred plus years ago over these, and are again having another George commit these very same acts upon the American people?

To quote an American sports icon,

It's like deja vu all over again

And it's scary as hell.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In the name of Jesus get out of my house!

Nice example why some think religion is a mental disorder.

This woman needs serious help.

Homework assignment from the Hajj

Found this jewel in one of my bookmarked sites. While I'm aware of, and enjoy, the humor and satire in this piece, it is also a very real commentary on the todays youth.

From Kingdom of Heathen

Dear Mom,

Hi! Guess where I'm writing from! Yeah! Saudi Arabia! Man, what a crazy two weeks this has been! It seems like just a few nights ago when you were disowning me for converting!

But seriously, Mom, this has been awesome! Now that I've gone on the Hajj, I've successfully completed one of the Five Pillars of Islam. I even got a bumper sticker! Also deep spiritual fulfillment derived from connectedness to God, but I can't put that on my car.

Ha! Ha! Anyways, you know, Muhammed was the first person to do a Hajj. We call him "The Big M" around here. Yeah, so, ever since he came back to Mecca and conquered it for Islam, Muslims have been making the pilgrimage here. Millions of people, Mom! You know how Dad always told me to become part of something? It's not the Army, Dad (wherever you are), but it's still responsible for lots and lots of wars and dead people!

You know, Mom, Muhammed was kinda like me. He was banished from his home (Mecca!) for practicing "paganism." Sound familiar? Haha! And so when he had enough followers, he went back to Mecca and took it away from the actual pagans! It's awesome!

Mom, you know how you always thought I converted because I was too stupid to understand Catholicism? Well, some of my new friends find that very offensive! This one guy, Abu-Musab, says that Catholicism is the stupid religion! How about that, Mom? Hmm?

No, Ma, I converted because the Bible's boring. There's too much begetting and not enough killing of infidels. I'm a child of the twenty-first century, Mom. I need action, and I found it in the Koran. Sure, Jesus said he would "slay" his enemies once or twice, but the Koran has that everywhere! Pages and pages condemning the infidels! "Fighting is obligatory," Mom! It's just like in those video games you caught me playing!

You and Dad always told me my life needed structure, but the Church never gave me any! But with Islam, Mom (Ha ha! It rhymes!), I've got salat. No, Mom, not a tasty vegetarian dish. It's prayer! I have to pray five times a day! Oh yes, Ma, five times: Before sunrise, at noon, before sunset, after sunset, and at dusk! That's far more structure than you and your crazy confessions and nightly prayers! Ha!

So that's why I went on the Hajj, Ma. I've proven that I'm an actual Muslim now. I have structure, and friends, and I'm closer to Allah. Who's the loser now, Principal Jenkins? That's right!

Anyways, did I mention how hot the Middle East is? It's sweltering, Ma! It's even worse than Dad's laboratory! Well, there aren't as many pointy things, so I guess it evens out. But when I got here, I was almost dying (also like Daddy's lab!) to change into my ihram! You know what that is, Mom? It's a white uniform! It's like two sheets, but even better, because its traditional! And sandals! Everybody else has to wear them, too, so there aren't any stylish kids to beat me up anymore! Ha ha ha! We're all nerds before God!

And you know what else is cool about Mecca? The Kaaba! It's this big cube-shaped building that Abraham built, in the center of the city's mosque. It's got a big black cloth on it, and my friends say that on the inside there's a room with Koranic inscriptions! They don't let people in, thought, except for the annual cleaning ceremony.

You know, when The Big M conquered Mecca, he didn't hurt anybody, because he was just cool like that. Instead, he just told people to get rid the filthy pagan idols around the Kaaba. So now, instead of worshipping idols, everybody bows down to a gigantic cube! It's awesome!

And not only is the Kaaba awesome, but the whole Hajj is awesome! When I got here, I had to walk around the Kaaba seven times, and then walk up and down a corridor seven times! It's because a long time ago, this servant woman Hagar had to walk back and forth across the desert to get water for her son. Pretty cool, right? And then, after all the walking, I had to drink water from the Zamzam well! Zamzam! Isn't that a funny name? Ha ha! Now I understand how horrible life was for adulterous maids!

So then, after all that walking, I had to walk even more to this place called Tent City. You know what that is? It's this big city of tents! Ha ha! It's in the Mina Valley, which is pretty big. We had to walk here without food of water, kinda like whenever you and Dad took me to Grandma's. Tent City's only about six miles from Mecca, though. And we prayed when we got there, instead of going down to Grandma's basement.

And later, I went to this plain called the Muzdalifah, where everybody had a vigil at sundown. You know what the vigil was for? To become closer to God! Yeah, I know, I just kept getting closer and closer to God during the whole Hajj! Closer and closer and closer! During the vigil, I think I even felt Him! It was awesome!

The most eventful part of my Hajj came on the tenth day, when we all went back to the Mina Valley. This was the part when we all threw stones at these three pillars called the jamarat, because they represented Satan. I don't know if he had real estate in them or whatever, but people seemed pretty mad at those big hunks of stone. There's also this bridge around them, called the Jamarat Bridge, where people can stand and throw the rocks. Awesome, huh?

So I was on the ground, throwing lots of pebbles and having a good time, when suddenly there's this stampede up on the bridge! I see people pushing people and running everywhere, and people falling off and all sorts of painful things! Apparently, a couple dozen people were killed! But one of my new friends told me that happens all the time (in 1994, almost three hundred people died!), so I wasn't too worried about it. After all, they'd be going to Heaven anyways! It's just too bad they didn't get to wage war on any infidels first.

Oh, and also, we had a feast that night! And for the next two days! There was food everywhere! It was awesome!

Say, Mom, if you ever become a Muslim, I'd be happy to go on a Hajj with you. Because, you know, women can't go by themselves. It's a Saudi law! Isn't that silly? Ha ha ha!

Yep, I started out alone, but then I met all sorts of interesting people. I made lots of friends, Mom! Aren't you proud? Ha ha! Although, I won't be seeing some of them for a while. Jacob lives all the way in Australia, Andy lives in London, and Abu Musab said he couldn't tell me where he lived. Isn't that awesome?

Sure, I may have felt awkward around the Arabic-speakers, but there were thousands and thousands of other people who I could talk to! I actually felt like someone! Like a person. Like a person surrounded by millions of other people in blind, unquestioned devotion to a giant cube! I felt awesome!

I'm a much better Muslim than I was two weeks ago, Mom! I've learned a lot. Like how I'm not alone in my struggle to serve God! Oh yes, the Hajj has taught me that we as people should not focus on that which divides us; nay, we should rather focus upon that which divides us…from Jews and Christians.