Smile Politely

Midwest Liberty Fest promises real change

“What a crock. Doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that the City of Champaign doesn’t want to start a dialogue. Typical politicians.”

—post by ‘John’ under the SPlog “Safe Haven Under Attack”, 7/12/09

American politicians are either immoral or principled only in a very particular sense — they are products of our free society.

They are like us in almost every imaginable way. They experience all of the inherent pains, accomplishments, and heartaches that life offers.

Yet they are regarded as a class that is totally different.

This is wrong.

In our representative democracy the power of the politician resides only in their ability to act on our behalf. It is not inherent and does not last in perpetuity. Moreover, it is not diabolically transformational.

Elected officials are mere actors temporarily playing parts that are real only for us; they are the symbolic masks behind which we see our own faces.

They are as influential as we permit. Never was this truer than in our last presidential election. Yet the philosophic right-left dialectic always takes us back to the same position: business as usual.


Simply: we’re buying what they’re selling.

The partisan approach is a self-perpetuating lie predicated on our ego and obedience. Those who buck it face recrimination and marginalization from within their own spheres of influence.

To illustrate, when staunch environmentalist and progressive Democrat Lloyd Dogget vocally opposed the cap and trade bill a few weeks for being too industry-friendly, his assertion was ridiculed by philosophic brethren.

His motive was, “stunning in that he would ignore the wishes not just of his president, but of his constituents and the country,” said an administration official.

And here we thought dissent as a hallmark of patriotism.

Of course, there are alternatives to complaining. You could always subvert the system.

A non-partisan, non-factional event for those who love peace, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is taking place at the DuQoin State Fairgrounds on October 9 – 11. The Midwest Liberty Fest promises a weekend of, “Education, Celebration & Activism” with subject focuses on candidate training, public speaking, American history, and grassroots projects. The overt goal of the festival is to catalyze the populace into political action through a family-friendly, cheap, and inclusive medium.

Already signed on to speak is Congressional candidate Adam Kokesh, a vocal leader of Iraq Veterans Against the War who protested John McCain’s nationally televised GOP acceptance speech last year while holding a “You Can’t Win An Occupation” sign. SP’s own Carl Estabrook has been invited to speak. Another local peace activist, Stuart Levy, has offered his help in organizing.

Progressives like Robert McChesney, whose seminal work attacks the misnomer of a deregulated media, and John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger whose Online Beat has stirred the pot since 1999 will both give presentations.

Conservatives like 2nd Amendment activist Sheriff Mack will be sharing their personal stories and educating the public on how to effectively petition their governments.

I am participating as well. I am helping to construct a gubernatorial debate for Friday night. Members from all 5 majority parties have already been contacted (with confirmations received from 2).

Did I mention live music? Jordan Page and Political Assassin have offered to perform. So had Hank Williams Jr., but was quickly swept aside after his handlers demanded six figure expenses. Sorry. We’ve also invited Naomi Wolf, creator of the wonderful documentary End of America, and both Rand and Ron Paul. Hopefully their traveling expenses will be less than Mr. Williams.

Don’t like hippies? You could always go local. Less than a day ago, I received an evite from Unity in Action Magazine. It states, “Join other local businesses, non for profit organizations, and community members as they unite to help address social and economic concerns; such as poverty, domestic violence and drug abuse, affecting Champaign County.”

Sounds good to me.

This event will take place on July 24th at 9:30 a.m. at the Champaign Public Library. With a name like Unity in Action, your presence should be welcomed. If you disapprove of the current local, state, or federal landscape, get active.

Volunteer. Organize. Share your ideas. Run for office.

The sense of otherness that pervades America is a lie that segregates us from the processes of self-empowerment.

Americans are increasingly living in compartmentalized, like-minded clusters. This trend is dangerous.

Camazotz is not my America.

Our shared freedoms and dreams should unite us in civil discourse. I have yet to meet one American who did not dream of a better life for future generations. If America is splintering into Balkanized communities, I, for one, am grateful to reside in such a politically and culturally diverse area as Champaign-Urbana…now let’s get to work.

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