Stannard: Stand up, stand out or lose it

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By Bob Stannard

Dear America,We've come a long ways in the past 244 years haven't we? We fought side by side against the tyranny of British rule. We fought against each other in our Civil War. We fought side by side during WWI, the Korean War, WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Of the 244 years of our existence as a nation there have only been 21 calendar years that we've not been at war. We've been in conflict for a long, long time. Today we are, once again, a nation divided in conflict with each other.

The country that our ancestors fought and died for is on the threshold of extinction. What has separated America from every other country in the world is our commitment to self government, upholding institutions and abiding by our Constitution. Since the beginning our countrymen and women have believed in the rule of law and that no man is above the law. That ideal has served to unite Americans for over two centuries.

We have had a representative form a government where the people get to elect one of their own and send them to Congress to represent their interests and lead them forward. In America the people oversee the government; the government works for and is responsible to the people. That's the way it's been or is supposed to be.

It's becoming obvious that we are losing the democracy that we fought for and struggled to maintain for centuries. Yes, there have been times when our government has let us down. President Nixon turned out to be corrupt and left office in disgrace.

President Johnson wasn't able to bring the Vietnam War to an end and left office after one term. Ronald Reagan lied to us about the Iran-Contra scandal. Americans were lied to about Vietnam.

We were told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed an eminent threat to America. That was not true. Under false pretenses we attacked Iraq and oversaw the death of Saddam Hussein, resulting in the upheaval of the Mideast. When we learned the truth our faith in our leaders was shaken. Today lying has become the norm.

However, our faith, or lack thereof, in our leaders has rarely been shaken to the degree that has resulted in people taking action. We still voted most of these presidents in for a second term. In fairness, their lies may not have been made known until it was too late to vote them out. In the 1960-70s young people took to the streets and protested the Vietnam War and corruption. After years of keeping the pressure on our leaders those kids were instrumental in bringing that illegal "police action" (it was never declared a war as those spineless members of Congress didn't want to go on record) to an end.

Those looking in at America from the outside these days might easily, and rightfully, conclude that Americans not only accept being lied to, but seem to rather enjoy it.

We've come to accept lies as truth and facts as suspect. We're being convinced to not trust the truth, but believe in falsehoods and conspiracy theories.

According to Timothy Snyder, author of the book "On Tyranny," when a society reaches the stages where truth and facts are treated with suspect and the Constitutionally protected free press is chastised for reporting the facts this is when a democracy ends. When our institutions come under attack and begin to slip our nation could very quickly morph into a fascist state.

The people living in Germany in the 1930s said that it could never happen there. Yet it did. Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security that our nation has enough checks and balances so that our democracy will always prevail. It won't.

We have an Attorney General who is supposed to be the Attorney General for the country. He is not. Those who know him best know that he is undermining the rule of law, which is the lynch pin of our democracy. As of this writing over 2,000 former Department of Justice officials have called on AG William Barr to resign. Imagine if 2,000 people who once worked at the company you now lead demanded your resignation, because they don't believe you're fit for the job. That's a lot of people.

But it's not enough people. We need tens of thousands, millions, tens of millions of Americans to understand and appreciate what it means to live in a democratic republic, how fragile any republic is and be willing to stand up and fight for it. If we don't then we lose what we have fought and died for for the past 250 years.

Are you better off living in a democracy than in a fascist state? If you answer "YES" then now is the time to say so. Stand out. Speak up. Demand accountability. Settle for nothing less than that what your ancestors settled, fought and died for.

Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.

Dear America,We've come a long ways in the past 244 years haven't we? We fought side by side against the tyranny of British rule. We fought against each other in our Civil War. We fought side by side during WWI, the Korean War, WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Of the 244 years of our existence as a nation there have only been 21 calendar years that we've not been at war. We've been in conflict for a long, long time. Today we are, once again, a nation divided in conflict with each other.

The country that our ancestors fought and died for is on the threshold of extinction. What has separated America from every other country in the world is our commitment to self government, upholding institutions and abiding by our Constitution. Since the beginning our countrymen and women have believed in the rule of law and that no man is above the law. That ideal has served to unite Americans for over two centuries.

We have had a representative form a government where the people get to elect one of their own and send them to Congress to represent their interests and lead them forward. In America the people oversee the government; the government works for and is responsible to the people. That's the way it's been or is supposed to be.

It's becoming obvious that we are losing the democracy that we fought for and struggled to maintain for centuries. Yes, there have been times when our government has let us down. President Nixon turned out to be corrupt and left office in disgrace.

President Johnson wasn't able to bring the Vietnam War to an end and left office after one term. Ronald Reagan lied to us about the Iran-Contra scandal. Americans were lied to about Vietnam.

We were told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed an eminent threat to America. That was not true. Under false pretenses we attacked Iraq and oversaw the death of Saddam Hussein, resulting in the upheaval of the Mideast. When we learned the truth our faith in our leaders was shaken. Today lying has become the norm.

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However, our faith, or lack thereof, in our leaders has rarely been shaken to the degree that has resulted in people taking action. We still voted most of these presidents in for a second term. In fairness, their lies may not have been made known until it was too late to vote them out. In the 1960-70s young people took to the streets and protested the Vietnam War and corruption. After years of keeping the pressure on our leaders those kids were instrumental in bringing that illegal "police action" (it was never declared a war as those spineless members of Congress didn't want to go on record) to an end.

Those looking in at America from the outside these days might easily, and rightfully, conclude that Americans not only accept being lied to, but seem to rather enjoy it.

We've come to accept lies as truth and facts as suspect. We're being convinced to not trust the truth, but believe in falsehoods and conspiracy theories.

According to Timothy Snyder, author of the book "On Tyranny," when a society reaches the stages where truth and facts are treated with suspect and the Constitutionally protected free press is chastised for reporting the facts this is when a democracy ends. When our institutions come under attack and begin to slip our nation could very quickly morph into a fascist state.

The people living in Germany in the 1930s said that it could never happen there. Yet it did. Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security that our nation has enough checks and balances so that our democracy will always prevail. It won't.

We have an Attorney General who is supposed to be the Attorney General for the country. He is not. Those who know him best know that he is undermining the rule of law, which is the lynch pin of our democracy. As of this writing over 2,000 former Department of Justice officials have called on AG William Barr to resign. Imagine if 2,000 people who once worked at the company you now lead demanded your resignation, because they don't believe you're fit for the job. That's a lot of people.

But it's not enough people. We need tens of thousands, millions, tens of millions of Americans to understand and appreciate what it means to live in a democratic republic, how fragile any republic is and be willing to stand up and fight for it. If we don't then we lose what we have fought and died for for the past 250 years.

Are you better off living in a democracy than in a fascist state? If you answer "YES" then now is the time to say so. Stand out. Speak up. Demand accountability. Settle for nothing less than that what your ancestors settled, fought and died for.

Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.


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