Frank O'Brien addresses the conflict between censorship[p and free speech. Frank O'Brien is a long time resident of Troy, NY, USA, and former head of Clan na Gael in same city area.
The tendency nowadays to censor oneself is the product of our total surveillance society, with the fear causing many to shrivel away from espousing their true opinions for fear that it will get them into trouble.
Lest one need reminding, that this is exactly what happened prior and during the Third Reich, when if the German public had only risen up they might have been able to have stopped the rise of Adolf Hitler.
So many people are afraid to truly tell it like it is, since they're fearful of losing their jobs, since there are so few unions to guarantee job security, and ergo political freedom. But the trouble is that even if you are only a pay check away from homelessness, you stand a better chance of a better future only if you aren't afraid of fully participating in the political process. If more people had spoken out before the Iraq war, we might not have gone in and made more of a ruin of our name in the Middle East, the war having caused the deaths of over a million Iraqis.
The latter is one of the biggest reasons why there is such a hatred of Uncle Sam in the Middle East, which can only be turned around by our speaking out about the need to change our foreign policy. Our foreign policy as it has stood has been driven, and formulated by a select few, mainly securocrats and neoconservatives, who's main agenda is to keep the money rolling in so that the military/ intelligence/ industrial complex keeps on growing unimpeded. This has been at the expense of education, much needed social welfare programs and other programs that are, or were, helping those who were economically struck down by the 2008 real estate bubble bursting, basically ruining the social/economic standing of over half the population.
You never see this reality reflected on mainstream TV since it is controlled, and meant as entertainment for the mainly well off, even though the majority can't afford the ridiculously high priced cars, and other products advertised in between television programs.
In order for both the betterment of our own personal financial situation, and the betterment of the world's view of us, we must begin to speak out, organizing amongst ourselves, putting pressure on the government to reflect the majority's views, and not the few at the ti-pity top. For us to clean up our much tarnished image in the bigger world, a complete reversal is needed, bringing most of our troops home, cutting the military budget at least in half, funneling the money instead into programs that so far have been strangled by their money going instead towards the war machine.
Our infrastructure has been crumbling slowly away, rotting away from not having been serviced for nearly two decades, so money has to go to repairing our highways, bridges and other transportation thoroughfares. Our power grid is way past due for improvement, such as bringing fiber optics to communities like mine, that still depend upon old copper wire for their telephone lines, and other communication needs. Education, and health care are in dire straights, with education being cut severely, while health care costs go through the roof at an astronomical rate.
The "corporatization" of hospitals, and organizations serving the poor and homeless is only bringing total misery to an already beaten up section of our society. More money needs to be given to taking care of the poor, especially those on Social Security, which wronglyfully judges your stipend on how long you worked while not disabled. This means that if you only worked for a couple of years, that you are merely given a pittance which can't get you through a given week, or month. Besides raising the minimum wage to a better than living wage, we need to desperately fight for a living wage for those depending upon Social Security, and say the limited incomes that many retirees are trying to live on.
Unionization is very much needed to fight the corporate encroachment upon our rights to certain guarantees that used to be, but have dwindled away thanks to the shrinking of the once strong, and powerful middle class. For profit hospitals don't properly serve their communities when their real bottom line is their main concern, so we must break up the growing monopolies that are taking away the choice of hospitals, and which care not a bit about the actual health care of any given individual, except of course the well off, and very rich. Damn money, and the greed for it is a cancer in our midst, needing to be excised before it destroys us from within.
We should first take back our country, by sheer force of numbers, which is more than possible, then we need to restructure our economy, making it fair and equitable to both the average person, and those who have always been at the very bottom. Elections never bring any real change, never mind hope, so we must let third, fourth[and so on]political parties in on our election process so that we have more of a choice in who we put in charge of things.
We also need to form citizen committees empowered to represent our communities since politicians don't necessarily follow our lead, but instead go by their own personal agendas. Our Constitution says we the people, not we the billionaires, or millionaires, which is how it really is and has been for so long. Campaign finance reform must be enacted, overturning the corrupt decision by the Supreme Court, which is infested with right wing ideologues left over from the Establishment presidents who so far have done nothing for the betterment of the whole country. The two major parties are failed institutions who's time to go is long past due, so we should abolish both of them if we are to be able to regroup, and set right the things that are wrong in this country.
Most importantly for our survival we have to take charge of foreign policy, and control the military who have become dangerously independent, calling their own shots instead of listening to us. Police need to be also strictly held accountable for every action they take, so that they realize that they are really meant to protect and SERVE, not ignoring the voices of concern in the communities that they serve.
The so-called, and failed War on Drugs has only recently gotten more ridiculous than ever, so we should first disband the DEA, and legalize almost every drug, heavily regulating it, using the taxation of them to boost our desperately dying economy. Neo-Liberal thinking has to be gotten rid of since it has only brought more problems for us, without hardly any benefits that can be enumerated, and instead have liberal and conservative joining together to come up with an agreeable compromise on the various hot button issues like abortion, health care and other societal disagreements.
The 4th estate must be freed from corporate control, and given its independence again, allowing it to investigate the tough issues without their reporting being controlled by a few at the top. Only by making these changes can we realize a society that again is great, and not spiraling into the abyss as we are right now. Only through free speech, and our not censoring ourselves, can we change the totally corrupt, and dismal reality that we have right now, so we need to be brave, and we need to get concerned. It is your Constitutional right, and God given right, to voice your opinion without fear of losing your job, and livelihood, so get involved, getting out and protesting against the current destructive, and unfriendly jerks who call the shots without their listening to us. Begin to think more about the actions we've taken, how it has effected others in the world, and what it has done to make us all look like typical ugly Americans, rather than purveyors of democracy.
Terrorism can only be defeated by bringing social justice to the rest of the world, so we need to weigh and measure carefully our every action, and how it impacts the other nations of the world. We need to be just as concerned about the social welfare of a destitute, or poor citizen of Pakistan, as we would be for our own desperately poor here. Military action in a strictly limited form is the only way to go, and if we set the example, others might soon follow our lead. Leave the fight of the War on Terror to the intelligence agencies, special forces and police, not taking care of it through using such indiscriminate killing machines as attack drones. Drones have killed an untold number of innocent people in other countries, and are way out of hand, needing to be stopped immediately.
Compensation, and promises of never again causing grievous harm, are needed if we are to repair our relations to those we have wrongfully pushed ourselves on. Besides repairing our own country, we need to have an eye looking out to the rest of the world, trying to repair the incredible damage that we've inflicted on others in our BS War on Terror. We will only become the greatest if once we decide to grow up, and not be trampling around like a drunken sailor, or bulls in a china shop. And the ONLY way we get there is when we all decide to speak out, rather than ignoring the chaos going on around us. It is ultimately up to you whether we have Trump get in, causing even more hate of us, and leading us merrily down the primose path of self destruction. Vote for a libertarian candidate instead, or other candidate, because they are out there, just needing to be given your attention. I hope and pray that some of this sinks into your subconscious, forcing you to take action, cause otherwise you will just be making things even worse than they are right now.