“The efforts of an aroused group of citizens”
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
~~~~ Thomas Jefferson http://www.bartleby.com/73/1065.html
Talk that way today, and you’re likely to get your phone tapped and email read, or end up on some domestic watch list. Most folks simply have have lost touch with the essential elements of patriotism, citizenship, and the need for organized activism and dissent. Folks forget that the major shifts in US history – the abolition of slavery; the elimination of child labor and the sweatshop and establishment of the 8 hour work day; women’s suffrage; social security; civil rights; the end of the Vietnam War; the environmental movement; and equal rights for gays – all came from the demands of organized and often angry or violent citizen protest movements. These were not gifts handed down from on high by “leaders” (“deciders”) or charismatic political candidates that mouth platitudes like “change we can believe in”.
Flag waving, lapel pins, bumper stickers, talk radio and blogging have replaced “the efforts of an aroused group of citizens”
But the spirit in which I came of age wasn’t so cowed – on yesterday’s bike ride, I came across this telling memorial that suggests what we need a whole lot more of if we are to end the Bush imperial project and restore a semblance of constitutional democracy. It reads:
“Green Sergeant’s Bridge – This is the last public covered bridge in New Jersey. It was erected in 1872 on abutments dating back to colonial times. Damaged in 1960, the superstructure of this bridge was completely dismantled and removed to make way for a conventional span. However, in 1961, as the result of the efforts of an aroused group of citizens, the State of New Jersey, using the materials of the original covered brudge, fully restored this link with the past.”