April 3rd, 2011

Nicholas Kristof always manages to raise our hopes for a future without oppression even as he details life at its worst for people (often women) around the world. In his latest column, he reminds us that the horrors of war are solely justifiable in the effort to preserve life. How can we condemn or ignore this purpose? How can we object to our integration into the larger world community for a goal of this importance?

A global community is about more than just the exchange of job opportunities.

In Libya, we are seeing the hopeful end of a despotic regime. We should hope that if the unthinkable ever happened and placed the US under such a form of governance, that other nations would come to our defense to restore our constitutional protections preventing elections from turning into military exercises. Our lesson in the revolutions currently in process is to examine our own weaknesses.

My comment on Kristof’s Libya Op-Ed was posted here:

Barbara Rubin
April 3rd, 2011
7:52 am
Dear Mr. Kristoff,

Thank you for putting President Obama’s actions into a perspective that many Americans may finally grasp amidst unconscionable arguments that saving lives from despots isn’t worth the price tag. Our own country is currently engaged in a war against trans-national corporations interfering in our governance through elections financed by these ‘paper citizens’. They ensure the election of na├»ve ideologues who chant slogans and consider deficit spending to be equivalent to having overdrawn, personal checking accounts.

Corporate sponsored governance has led to the suppression of many freedoms here at home, including that of free speech through bullying tactics. The rhetoric of despots is not always limited to governmental leaders.

This isn’t even about costs since the conservative community had no objections to spending millions in enforcing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ rules and now complains of the minor costs incurred in shifting social policies in the military. This action is a landmark demonstration of nations agreeing to become watchdogs over the trampling of human lives in the insane quest for power and money. It is a protest against the social engineering of world-wide efforts to treat citizens as commodities and possessions.

Just as the ‘cult of never enough’ led to financial disaster here at home, it also takes actual lives here at home through indirect methods. Violence is the result of anger-provoking rhetoric which has replaced much of the actual legislation we expect from our representatives. Citizens are brougth to the point of pressuring and bullying their neighbors into disavowing the need for healthcare or the role of unions in shaping humane working conditions and living (versus ‘dying’) wages in America. Corporations have conditioned people to attribute the withdrawal of jobs and benefits as due to ‘immigrants’ rather than greed. Despots require reigning in by a public having faith in their own governmental principles and the inherent rights of every individual to their freedom, regardless of gender, nationality and belief system.

Yes, this is frightening but may give us the courage to say ‘no’ to laws and court decisions that subject residents to a narrowly defined status prescribing uniformity in matters of work, faith and life-style. Peace comes in a remarkable variety of colors, shapes, sizes and beliefs.

Hopefully, the obvious merits for President Obama’s actions in Libya will translate into greater recognition for the value of lives here at home, above and beyond various ‘class’ distinctions.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Newspaper Commentary, NY Times, Published

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