Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Gunpowder Treason

There was a movie that a friend of mine lent to me while I was living in London that had some really interesting things to say politically, morally, and ethically. The movie, V for Vendetta is made from a graphic novel (an adult comic book) and is very much in the style of movies made from such sources, it is dark, highly stylized, and does not follow normal rules of physical motion (people appear and disappear without moving, return from the dead, seem to fly across great distances in no time at all, etc.).

The movie is set in a modern day London which is ruled by a harsh, authoritarian government which comes to power through questionable means and which maintains power through the use of fear and brutal enforcement of draconian laws. Personal freedoms and human rights have all but disappeared in the wake of the horrible events that gave rise to a highly nationalist and xenophobic government.

Into this hellish world comes an avenger. V, as he is known, is a crusader who has come to remind his fellow countrymen what they have surrendered to the powers that be and to let them know that no government has the right to rule through fear and oppression. V is only ever seen in the guise of Guy Fawkes and the British Celebration of Guy Fawkes night features prominently throughout.

There are shades of Thomas Jefferson in the quote most people remember from the movie:
"People should not fear the government. The government should fear its people."
Now, I was living over in the UK during the later years of the Bush-Cheney administration so I saw this not so much as an indictment of the the British, but more as a general warning about letting your government take away from you the rights that we have fought against those in power for so many years to win! I was constantly being asked how I could countenance the erosion of personal freedoms that were being foisted upon the American people.

We were being spied upon by the government, we were being lied to to induce us to allow the administration to start two ill-conceived and unpopular wars. (Okay, there was general consent that we should attack Afghanistan after 09/11, but the reasons and the support for invading Iraq was never as clear.)

The result of the November elections of last year should have been a turning point. It seemed to be. "Change" was what we were promised. Unfortunately, that change has been neither as copious nor as rapid as one might have hoped. I do not in any condone or support violent revolution, but a revolution is what is needed nonetheless!

A revolution of fed-up Americans who do the unthinkable: that get active in local affairs, an American public who take a genuine and active interest in politics, an American public who can be bothered to show-up at the polls and voice their opinion.

As Thomas Jefferson said:
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
Wherever you are today, I hope that you will find some peaceful way to at least give your government a brief pause for thought!

Don Bergquist - November 05, 2009 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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