It was a cold, overcast and rainy day in Lexington, Kentucky for the MoveOn.Org “Defend the Dream” rally. I couldn’t help but thinking that it matched the mood of America and the World right now. The entire Middle-East is in turmoil, tens of thousands have rallied for worker’s rights in Wisconsin and around the country in support of public workers’ unions. If that wasn’t enough, Japan has had an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption and now six nuclear reactors are on the verge of meltdown. It seems that change is in the air and it’s not the kind Obama promised just a few years ago.
Attendance at Lexington’s “Defend the Dream” rally mirrored the weather and the mood of the World. The attendance was, in one word, depressing. You can see by the photos that only about 30-40 people attended during the peak of the rally. Some of those were transients and undercover police officers. I know this because my cameraman witnessed several of them sneaking off to report to bicycle officers and then return to the crowd dressed as homeless people.
MoveOn.Org sent out this message days before the event:
Republican attacks on workers and public programs are escalating in Wisconsin and in Washington, D.C. We have to stand up to Defend the Dream! So on Tuesday, we’re getting together in Lexington. At the event, we’ll stand in solidarity by wearing Wisconsin red and white, hear from local speakers impacted by Republican attacks, and be a show of community force to stop this onslaught on the American Dream. A big crowd is crucial please join us on Tuesday!
I don’t believe in taking sides in American politics. It is my opinion that it is the middle class at war with the bankers and the corporations who control our politicians. These bankers and politicians keep us divided between Democrat and Republican lines in order to keep us arguing and divided. While we are distracted, both sides of the political isle do the bidding of the corporations and the banks who have stolen our country and replaced the Constitution with a Supreme Court that is bought and paid for.
“United we stand, Divided we fall” is a phrase that has been used in mottos, from nations and states to songs. The basic concept is that unless the people are united, it is easy to destroy them. This is a counter to the maxim divide and rule.
Patrick Henry used the phrase in his last public speech, given in March 1799, in which he denounced The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Clasping his hands and swaying unsteadily, Henry declaimed, “Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” At the end of his oration, Henry fell into the arms of bystanders and was carried almost lifeless into a nearby tavern. Two months afterward, he had died.
Kentucky‘s second governor, Isaac Shelby, was particularly fond of the stanza from the Liberty Song. Since 1942, this phrase is the official non-Latin state motto of Kentucky. (In 2002, the Kentucky legislature approved an official Latin motto, Deo gratiam habeamus, “Let us be grateful to God”).
Kentucky, of all places, should know the meaning of this phrase. Kentucky, of all places, should stand together and “Defend the Dream”. Where were the Kentuckians today when so much is at stake? Where were the Kentuckians today that agree with today’s rally? Where were the Kentuckians today that disagree with the rally’s points? When all of the World is either standing up for what they believe or for those in need, where were the Kentuckians today?
Rikka Wallin has tirelessly sponsored these events for MoveOn.Org. Some of the other Kentuckians that braved the cold were Melissa Jan Williamson, Vice President for KASE, David Smith, President KASE, Kathy Green who works for the state and Dr. Preston Elrod who also spoke at the event.
These Americans got involved along with a crowd of about 30 other patriotic people to “Defend the Dream“. Where were you? Agree or disagree, it need not matter. Democracy requires the involvement of the people or it doesn’t work.
In the early Twentieth Century Freud and his grandson, Edward Bernays, worked with politicians to use propaganda, the media, psychology and Pavlovian techniques to ‘train’ the American and European people into becoming ultra-consumers. These techniques have been continued and perfected over the years creating a society that is easily controlled by keeping our incomes low and our desires high.
Edward Louis Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995), was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda along with Ivy Lee, referred to in his obituary as “the father of public relations”. Combining the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Dr. Sigmund Freud, Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the subconscious.
He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the ‘herd instinct‘ that Trotter had described. Adam Curtis‘s award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC, The Century of the Self, pinpoints Bernays as the originator of modern public relations, and Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.
America needs hippies. Yes, I said it, hippies, or at least the passion that drove the movement. We need a movement of people that refuse to be lab rats for Pennsylvania Avenue. We could also use some of the love, compassion and ideas of connectivity that drove the movement. What will it take to bring back the passion to America that brought our parents and grandparents into the streets?
I hope something happens soon in America because the turnout in Lexington proves Mark Twain to be right when he said, “I want to be in Kentucky when the end of the world comes, because it’s always 20 years behind.”
Of course, with the events around the World, that might not be such a bad thing.
Copyright ©Christopher Hignite 2010 All Rights Reserved
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