Thursday, August 27, 2009

Uncle Ted Has Died. RIP.

I suppose it’s not prescience that I knew Uncle Ted would die this week. I thought of him Tuesday, just before he did -- about how he hadn’t even gone to his sister, Eunice’s, funeral the week before last. Anyone would have suspected he wasn’t doing well, and, to be honest, I merely suspected it because I didn’t want to think about his impending passing any more than any of his friends, colleagues and family must have wanted to think about it. I’m sure they have nothing but pleasant reminiscences of, and kind tributes for, him, but I’m not sure what I’m feeling today. I am clear, though, on what I think -- what I can only think -- about the man.

Of course, I wish Senator Kennedy an easy transition, and I delight in the joy, love and comfort I know he will find among his beloved family members already on the other side even as I wish there were not so many of them there. Naturally, I hope his judgment isn’t too arduous, and that he remembers to forgive himself when the pain he (like we all) must experience as he adjudicates himself -- pain that mimics that which we have inflicted on others in our lives -- becomes too great to bear. Forgiveness is the only way to end that pain, and one can only know how to forgive one’s self if one realizes that we all need to be forgiven -- that forgiveness is what truly makes the world go ‘round. That we learn to forgive others during our lifetimes is important but still secondary to this truth about the nature of forgiveness, a truth that is prerequisite to learning how to do that. At the heart of it is what makes us moral beings -- our ability to empathize with others, especially in their worst moments; to say, “There but for the grace of G_d go I.” This is a truth I believe Ted Kennedy explored energetically while he was alive -- one, the knowledge of which, I know, will ease his transition. Having said that, I’m still a little ambivalent about Uncle Ted.

Senator Kennedy was elected eight months after I was born to hold the Senate seat his brother had vacated when JFK ran for and was elected president. As we know, he was very much a human being -- flawed in all the ways the privileged and powerful are, but, unlike most of them, he was introspective, empathic and even humble, not merely intelligent. I defy anyone to listen to his passionate speech to Congress in defense of Anita Hill without feeling either gratitude to him for taking on the task of remonstrating his colleagues, or shame for the fact that he had to, or both. I wept when I first heard it, and as I remember it now, I realize that Ted Kennedy’s true legacy isn’t of the reckless young adult who lost his head in a tragic accident that took the life of a young girl, Mary Jo Kopeckne; it isn’t that he lived his life under scrutiny most of us can never imagine simply because of his name and the fact that his three older brothers gave their lives, each of them in his own way, as true American patriots; it’s not even that he was the last, greatest, living liberal in Congress. Ted Kennedy’s actual legacy to us all is the example of a precious and diminishing humanity here in the United States because he endured all these things and more with grace, fighting publicly the inevitable addictions which those burdens provoked -- and conquering them. He could have become the biggest, most arrogant jerk of all time -- just another of the many beltway assholes, like George Bush (or one even greater than George Bush since the dynasty from which he came was so much more authentically American than the Loyalist Bush dynasty). But he wasn’t.  For much of his career, he served the people, not merely his party.  I have to believe that the strength of character he found in middle age to be his own person and accept the unique challenges that he faced throughout his later years with a previously unfamiliar equanimity came from a deep spiritual awareness and not some political advisor.  This fact about Ted Kennedy, more than any other, is what inspires in me a respect for the man, and it is one of the two that I will remember about him until the day I die.

Our country’s system of governance has slid into a repressive military regime in my lifetime that wields power, as all fascist regimes do, through a private-public alliance which takes the majority of the public’s funds and uses it to promote private, mostly military-related enterprises, not the general welfare, as our Constitution stipulates. Ted Kennedy, like the two of his three older brothers who were assassinated, tried to fight that slide, with often little support. Most people don’t see the fascism under which we Americans currently live because they don’t wish to see it and because the few of us who do see the many ways in which it manifests are kept from attaining positions of influence. It’s easy for the world’s greatest military power to deny the right to association to its dissidents, first because there aren’t many of us to challenge it, and second because the fact is that no one has any civil rights if they don't have the ability to enforce them, and that takes money. Senator Kennedy was once the only lion-like voice in our Congress for our country’s increasing population of poor and under-privileged, the chum caught in the maw of this war monster. That singularity, I am convinced, has not been entirely his own making. He tried -- and failed, as anyone can see from popular books such as Barbara Erenrich’s, Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America -- to keep the majority of us from joining their ranks, but since most of his colleagues occupied themselves exclusively with promoting businesses and markets developed within our military-industrial complex, he had to do this work, increasingly, alone.  It couldn’t have been a comfortable existence he lived in the 1970s and 1980s, and when, in the 1990s, George H.W. Bush hailed the advent of “the new world order” and American supremacy, of “law and order” government, instead of one that is of, by and for the people and assures the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of all American citizens, he must have been completely distraught.  How Ted Kennedy didn’t become schizophrenic during his career is not so much a mystery but a phenomenon in the presence of which we should all feel a sense of humility. Still, this seemingly miraculous imperviousness to a debasement no one in Washington seems able to resist deserves some exploration.

Today, as I struggle to live in the wall-less prison constructed for me by the Pentagon, I find myself asking, “What should we have expected for ourselves when we asked so much from this one, single man; when we asked him to do the work all of us ought to have been doing; when we told him tacitly that it’s fine to play both ends against the middle, trying to uphold the Constitution while simultaneously undermining it by promoting “free” market socioeconomic policies and acquiescing to the private marketeers that have destroyed the public sector; to ask him to do what no person has ever done successfully before -- to serve two masters?” He was one mere mortal who was surrounded by jackals determined to drag this country into an autocratic, even theocratic, military dictatorship and to torture and kill everyone who stands in their way, including a president and presidential hopeful. Another of Ehrenrich’s book, Fear of Falling, explicates vividly how the American middle class has retreated from liberal causes under the growing threat of the fascism in which we now live. We’ve been told, explicitly and implicitly, the only way any of us can be assured of living in a dignified manner is to turn our backs on each other and concern ourselves only with our own interests. And so we have. Instead, we walk, we dine, we run to raise money to charities of whose missions the average donor has no conception, never mind its mandate for self-perpetuation, which contradicts the now merely assumed modus operandi of health charities, which are, in theory, designed to eliminate specific diseases (and, in so doing, their raison d'étre, which, of course, they will never do).  Now we have no public sphere that represents us all -- no common government. It’s Luxembourg, right here. When I reflect on these facts, I realize it’s not fair to subject Senator Kennedy to a more stringent standard of conduct and character than we have ever applied to any of our government officials, or to ourselves, just because he bore a name that has come to symbolize all the most lofty aspirations of the American dream -- especially when very few other Congresspersons have achieved of their own volition the same level of character (excepting, of course, Paul Tsongas, Paul Wellstone and Mel Carnahan).  Even as we have failed Ted by failing to support his more liberal work, he has graciously tried to do for us what we have been unwilling, not just unable, to do for ourselves, when he needn’t have even bothered.  He’s even managed to achieve remarkable things for us, however impermanent they’ve been, such as brief and evaporating public funding for the arts.

He was the face of truth in government, of open government and of government accountability in the 1970s and 1980s even as his high-profile campaigns for the same went nowhere.  He was the senator who formed the committee in 1974 headed by Frank Church and Nelson Rockefeller to investigate evidence of CIA technological abuse of vast populations of the American citizenry’s minds.  He probably thought since his brothers were so loved by Americans many others would be willing to risk their lives, too, to expose the truth about the CIA and force a change or end to it since it had been instrumental in his brothers’ murders. He thought wrongly, as it turned out. The subsequent report on CIA mind control experiments supported civil law suits against the agency by a fraction of those it had harmed, but the success of those suits has never been widely publicized and has been all but forgotten today, their plaintiffs still languishing in torment even as the CIA and the FBI continue to create new victims with their programs, such as the Monarch children. When one considers that Ted Kennedy had to live with the naked lies and myths of the Warren report about the assassination of the elder of his two brothers who were publicly murdered, and the nagging and unanswered questions of CIA involvement in Sirhan Sirhan’s role in his next eldest brother’s assassination, it’s a wonder he never quit public service -- something he had more than enough money to do.  While FOIA is a joke today, who can forget the Bork hearings?  Who among us wouldn’t have been at least jaded by experiences such as Ted Kennedy's, and yet, he genuinely seemed to care about the American people, their freedom and their governmental institutions.  I’m sure he must have at least wondered at times why he should have cared about the many thankless of us he served; he was only human, after all.  Still, for much of his career, Ted Kennedy was there for us -- even when we weren’t here for ourselves. It's impossible to say when the change in him occurred, or whether it was incremental, or at one decisive moment.

I never met Senator Kennedy, though I did write to him -- three times -- when I was growing more sick with non-HIV/AIDS and was being abused by all of the doctors I went to for answers about and treatment for the mysterious disease I had, shunted by them into research programs run by equally abusive scientists. My first two letters were even nice ones. I never had a reply from him, which annoyed me by the time I wrote the third. I called his office, asking if the Senator had received my first letter; I was assured he had and that I would receive a reply. When the promised reply never came, I called his office again and asked if I could have a copy of it, which I was assured the Senator had sent. I asked for it to be faxed to me. I was told that was impossible. When I asked if I could pick up a copy of it, I was again told that would be impossible. No email, either. I was angry for a long time with Senator Kennedy and his minions over their disregard for me and the untold millions of American and other world citizens like me -- until I realized the necessity of this charade.

Senator Kennedy was the Chairman of the HELP Committee -- Congress’s committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. As such, it was his job to oversee the crafting of official federal AIDS policies that would distribute federal monies to former government scientists heading up private institutions and enterprises that would profit from researching the disease in all its many forms. These policies, of course, were based on lies that are still as obvious today as the “lone gunman” theory. Here’s a quick review of some of the facts that contradict the lies our government has told and does tell about AIDS: (1) most of the study subjects (nearly 60%) in which the group of retroviruses the U.S. government has dubbed “HIV” was detected did not have AIDS, leading to the inescapable conclusion that another pathogen, not merely HIV, was at least involved in making the disease fatal; (2) of the original victims of HIV/AIDS all had virulent herpes virus infections which were far more detectable and pernicious than the HIV; (3) all retroviruses, even those in the group that is called HIV, require another virus in which to live and propagate, such as a herpes virus. This suggests that HIV(then AIDS) is a multi-part bioweapon -- one that can be deployed over time with the subsequent administration of its components. When this observation is considered with fact number 5, below, it, too, becomes fact. If you know nothing about our country’s despicable history of bioweapon development, or the state of the science of proteonomics and biotechnology, and you find these facts shocking, then perhaps it’s time you learn such things. It’s all in the public domain; (4) the “HIV” found in the original study samples were inert particles of retroviruses, which is why they were hard to find and had to be “re-grown” with PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, once their detritus were detected. This was one of the reasons the international science community (including Dr. Luc Montagnier, of the Pasteur Institute, the discoverer of HIV) protested the U.S.’s designation of HIV as the cause of AIDS. I’m not suggesting it’s impossible a hybrid -- or several hybrids -- of herpes and retrovirus particles have been genetically combined to create the infectious agents that cause all the AIDS in the world, and I think it’s notable that these epidemics erupted after the 1981 Supreme Court decision granting scientists property rights to those of them who create new organisms, up to and excepting a whole human being. Bioweapons, like all weapons, have huge world-wide markets; (5) another reason the international science community has protested the designation of HIV as the cause of AIDS was and has been because of the simultaneous eruption of other types of AIDS, such as secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, in which a retrovirus, MSRV, is also present; and non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma, diagnosed variously as chronic mono-cum-yuppie flu-cum-chronic fatigue syndrome, which, with the addition of more virulent retroviral/herpes pathogens becomes chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, or myalgic encephalitis, to cover up this non-HIV/AIDS. All these types of AIDS, in which are seen the same types of pathogens (cancer-causing retroviruses, cancer-causing herpes and hepatic viruses, mycoplasma and yeast parasites) in groups of similar numbers are aberrations that fly in the face of conventional wisdom about the way pathogens evolve. If these unique groups are erupting in epidemics simultaneously, as they have been (even though you, the public, haven’t been told they have been, because these epidemics, like the HIV/AIDS epidemic, have been denied as such and named everything but what they are; our government knows a moving target is harder, but not impossible, to hit, harder for the layperson to recognize), that epidemiological behavior contradicts well-established theories of evolutionary biology -- and that’s why you don’t hear about them, any more than you heard about the original victims of HIV/AIDS, or any other of our government’s bioslaves, such as the Philadelphia Survivors Network and the atomic era vets. It’s why, nearly two decades after mycoplasma infections along with other pathogenic co-factors exhibiting signs similar to the herpes encephalitis seen in both HIV/AIDS and non-HIV/AIDS, George W. Bush bothers himself to publicly deny the existence of Gulf War Syndrome epidemic. Its victims are yet more [veteran] bioslaves. If Uncle Ted had replied to any of my letters, he would have had to acknowledge that I had an AIDS the government has been covering up -- the government of which he has been a part my entire life, the government he already tried and failed to confront and hold accountable for his brothers’ murders. He’d have had to admit he has been in a difficult situation his entire career -- or lie to, and thereby abuse, me further.

The people who’ve promoted these lies benefit in all kinds of ways by doing so: charitable trusts employ other trust fund legatees to manage fund-raising campaigns; investment firms grow and distribute for a profit the money the charitable trusts gather; so-called experts get to create private enterprises with these as well as public funds to research the diseases, often covertly because they are private research facilities, such as Harvard University’s; researchers, scientists, academics and doctors working for both public and private endeavors participate in and promote the lies, and in exchange, they get to live in swank communities, like Wellesley and Lexington, and drive Hummers. And they get to do the one thing they love to do more than anything else -- play god. These G_dless American Mengeles love just as much as their BMWs and Hummers their power to distort the truth about what they do by misnaming and renaming the diseases they create, which demonstrates their culpability because they’re implicitly admitting they are lying to us with their deliberate misdiagnoses.  Syphilis to “bad blood.” Non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma to chronic fatigue syndrome. Non-HIV/AIDS to “chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome.” It makes them feel powerful. They do these things because the fascists they serve have told them to do it in order to get the power they crave, the power over others’ lives and deaths. I know one person -- namely, Senator Kennedy -- doesn’t have the ability to go up against all these influences and markets, especially in a country whose only modus operandi is “markets must be protected.” I guess it takes a strange sort of courage not to participate in the abuse of a person you know is perfectly real, and admit you have no power to stop it, but his staff have always behaved a bit less chivalrous, and not merely with me.

In 2007, Veterans for Peace asked at a peace rally on Boston common for volunteers to join their delegation to Senator Kennedy’s office. They wanted to discuss the toll the invasion and occupation of Iraq was having on American soldiers with the Senator, so I went, in solidarity, to bolster their numbers. My cousin died as a result of the Vietnam invasion and occupation nearly 40 years ago, on October 18, 1969; I still don’t want anyone’s family to be ripped apart the way ours has been by war. My particular concern, though, has been for the children we send to invade and occupy foreign countries that have not offended us, since that’s immoral and unconstitutional. When I mentioned to the Kennedy aide our delegation met with that day that adolescence lasts until age 25 and that, as such, it’s cruel to expect those of them serving in the military to make life-dependent judgments they are not fully developmentally prepared to make, he related with obvious approval the tale of a 15 year-old war hero from the Second World War who had lied about his age to enlist and then distinguished himself in combat, as though we should be routinely enlisting 15 year-olds, instead of adults over 25, and asking them to die. Then he blushed -- as well he should have. How could I expect Uncle Ted, one man, to fight the foes in our government, if he couldn’t even keep track of the ones in his own office?

I realize the majority of Americans today are happy with the Disneyfied lies about our country its leaders have always told about it and themselves, and that the citizens of Massachusetts, in particular, love the lies that enable them to live without scrutinizing their more base, patently unAmerican and unChristian, even inhumane, motivations. Look at the Salem witch trials. Many people today think the trials happened because the victims were proponents of an ancient religion, and that the trials represent what happens when religious intolerance pervades society -- because that’s what some so-called Wiccans have said about the Martyrs for the past two decades. But that’s not why the Salem witch trials happened. The Salem witch trials were not about religious intolerance. All of the victims of the Salem witch trials were Protestant “Puritans” (some, more devout than others and likely the targets of their persecutors because of their piety). That attribute alone is what qualified them and their progenitors for passage on ships to this, the “new world.” They were escaping religious persecution, not sailing to it. Remember “Bloody” Mary, England’s Catholic monarch who persecuted Protestants, and Mary’s dad, Henry Tudor, who had as much compassion for the first Protestants, the Lutherans, as he had had for the Catholics he persecuted after breaking with Rome so he could marry Ann Boleyn (which is to say, not much; he burned them both with equal fervor)? Henry’s other daughter, Elizabeth I, expelled and persecuted Catholics for believing the Pope and only the Pope to be God’s emissary on earth, and James I (who commissioned the first Protestant Bible for the Anglican church, the King James version), as Elizabeth I’s successor, was viewed as being too lenient on the Catholic Church for not making war more strenuously with countries under Rome’s dominion. James’ son, Charles I, whom the Puritans believed was as corrupt as the Pope, married a Catholic and sparked a movement by members of King Henry VIII’s Anglican church who, in the tradition of Martin Luther, wanted to “purify” the church of its resemblances to the Pope’s church -- principally, the legalism that held the reigning monarch to be God’s emissary on earth. These “Puritans” believed God’s word, [His] Bible, was the only embodiment of God on earth and, as such, accessible to each person according to his or her attentiveness to its teachings. Charles I charged his very own Torquemada, Bishop Laud, with arresting, torturing and putting to death the Puritans for their defiance of his law requiring them to acknowledge him as God’s only emissary on earth. The community of Salem Village (now, Danvers, Massachusetts, not the current town of Salem) was established by people who practiced “Antimonianism.” They believed that one’s salvation was predestined and in no way mediated by any human, whether Pope or King, and they refused to follow the laws the King passed which dictated the ways in which they were to worship God. They had been persecuted by their monarch for denying he was God’s emissary just as their monarch had once persecuted Catholics for regarding the Pope, and not the King, as such. Still, the Puritans who settled the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were hardly of one mind on the subjects of who had access to God and in what manner and to what degree that communication with God took place. The governors of the land, who were still King Charles’ subjects and were both magistrates and ministers who made no distinction between the state’s right to administer justice and that of the church fathers, banished those among them who claimed they were both “divinely inspired” by God, as Anne Hutchinson believed herself to be when she preached to her neighbors outside the church, and those who felt they had an ability for direct communication with God, as the Quakers did. After Mary Dyer, a Quaker, was banished from Boston, left and then returned, the magistrates hanged her on Boston Common. Even still, banishment from the colonies, not torture or death at the stake, was the official, universally accepted method of weeding the colony of non-conformists. That’s how the Puritans attempted to maintain the religious homogeneity of their community. Salem Village was more than 60 years old by the time of the witch trials, more than old enough to have its share of divisiveness based on issues other than religious beliefs and practice (of conscience) that had been dividing the Boston colony, issues which without doubt promoted grudges and vendettas. The victims of the Salem witch trials died because their neighbors -- out of greed, jealousy, spite or mob rule -- denounced and martyred their victims for their own petty reasons, and they did so by condemning their victims as the one thing by law their society wouldn’t tolerate: witches.

The Salem witch trials’ victims were administratively murdered by their government not because they actually were witches, but because their persecutors were more than familiar with how to terrorize and eradicate the vulnerable among them, for all their espousals of communitarian ideals. Anyone who didn’t conform strictly to social norms above and beyond lawful behavior, and even those who did but who also happened to have something of value coveted by the rapacious and powerful in Salem Village -- such as Rebecca Nurse her family’s land -- was vulnerable to attack. The victims were merely denounced as the type of social outcast which governments in their day routinely killed on hardly more evidence than mere suspicion, just like the CIA has tortured and killed innocent Iraqis and other Arabs these past six years. That’s how all communities have always gotten rid of innocent people of conscience. In 1692 Salem Village, just as exists today among vigilante gangstalkers trained by the FBI as ‘Neighborhood Watch’ groups, there was no such thing as a difference between actual and circumstantial evidence and gossip, or the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers. Persecution was, and is, based on personal vendetta. The governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, representing the government of England, were the law, and unless the accused falsely admitted consorting with the devil, they were tortured, starved and (19, at least) eventually, hanged. The governors were so vicious, they even let an infant who was born in the jail die of disease and starvation; no such thing as the practical application of the “doctrine of tainted blood,” then, either. They even pressed Giles Corey, an old man, to death under boulders because he wouldn’t falsely confess to being a witch. They even hanged two dogs belonging to the victims. But none of the victims practiced anything like today’s Wicca. Seems that Ninth Commandment was just as necessary to civil society and just as weak in protecting it in 1692 Salem Village as it was when Moses first chiseled it on a tablet, a fact as obvious as the fact that all of the victims of the Salem witch trials were merely vulnerable people who got in the way of the powerful, the powerful who hid behind scared and ethically inexperienced children. This is why the separation of church and state is so important; when your persecutors have God on their side, you have no chance. Thus, the most obvious -- and least often acknowledged -- lesson from the Salem witch trials: as long as there have been people, they’ve been people, and the ones with absolute power -- God’s power -- have always been corrupt absolutely. Those who are our governors today persecute anyone and everyone who gets in their way, just as governors with absolute power everywhere and in all time have done. Pope Gregory IX.  Sheriff Corwin.  Hitler.   Dick Cheney and his cabal. You name it.

We haven’t really learned much since 1692, it seems; like how not to live down to our deepest capacities for ignoring the persecution of the innocents who get in the way of the powerful among us. The victims of McCarthyism. The Anti-war activists victimized by the FBI in the 1960s, 1980s and today. People protesting for civil rights. The current victims of the 35-year campaign of persecution of liberals beginning with the Kennedy brothers’ murders.  Perception management campaigns make us believe that Al Qaeda’s -- and by inference, all Arabs’ -- power is great enough to successfully attack the U.S., unbeknownst to our government (as if that could ever happen, when NOAA has routinely surveilled all our phone, radio and digital communications for decades), and imbue in many Americans a vengeance that blinds them to the fact that none of us is free of the tyranny our military dictators have imposed on us all. The mob rule that killed Salem Village’s martyrs is the same mob rule that killed Jesus, which is the same mob rule that has killed all activists the powerful deem most threatening -- those who speak the truth against these dictators. They kill their martyrs over and over again by killing the influence those martyrs may otherwise have had on their society. They socially exterminate martyrs as much as they physically exterminate them -- by declaring those martyrs as social outcasts, as witches, or terrorists. One would think that after all this time and all our wayward experiences we’d be a nation more, not less, committed to the ideal that we share in one another’s weal and woe, and yet, those who have the best interests of all America’s citizens at heart are usually the ones our military dictatorship persecutes, as Attorney Brian Glick demonstrated in his 1989 book, War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It.  Gated communities for the privileged -- who, rightfully, fear the excesses of the vigilantes they have created -- have replaced forever any attempt at truly communitarian, so-called utopian societies such as Amos Alcott’s Fruitlands.

Another thing about the Salem witch trials most people today also don’t know is that every last one of the victims has been officially exonerated by the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- because there were no witches. Not within any timeframe, mind you, to have benefitted either the martyrs families’, or even the Commonwealth. I heard a woman at the Martyrs’ Memorial on Halloween, 2006, ask her husband, “So these were the witches?” It doesn’t profit the tourist industry in Salem for people to know the truth about the Martyrs; Salem must have its witches. Justice delayed is justice denied, for sure, but the Puritan community in Massachusetts suffered from protracted and needless internecine strife because it took so long to officially recognize the martyrs as such. One of the main accusers of the martyrs, Anne Putnam, confessed her part in the “hysteria” as a young adult after many years’ encouragement from the Village’s new minister, the Rev. Greene, because she wished to redeem herself and join the church, but the martyrs’ official records weren’t expunged for centuries. Many of their family members lived under suspicion and in bitterness for generations. Today, many people in the City of Salem earn their livelihoods because of the lie that there were witches, just as loads of people, including JFK, like to claim Massachusetts as birthplace of the separation of church and state. That claim is only credible if we see the Commonwealth as the de facto midwife of this movement. We should remember that it wasn’t the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that gave birth to the movement for the separation of church and state. It was Rhode Island, which was established by a former member of the Boston settlement, Roger Williams, who had been banished even after loyally serving the colony as liaison among the various native tribes in the region. He just thought he had a right to speak his mind about the nature of his relationship with G_d after sailing half-way around the world to this, at the time, inhospitable land. After he founded Providence, he sailed back to England to procure from Charles II a patent for a new colony which became the state of Rhode Island and encouraged the King to pass a law in the new colony specifically prohibiting banishment from it on the basis of religious belief or practice, thereby cleaving the influence of church elders from the affairs of state.

The woman at the martyrs’ memorial in Salem on Halloween, 2006, obviously saw no correlation between the Salem witch trials’ victims and other martyrs -- martyrs, like, say, Jesus, who also died because he chose to tell the truth about the corruption of Rome and its unjust rule over the society that it had created in Judea. Haven’t the Salem Martyrs been used enough? Haven’t we abused the reputations of and used the innocents in our midst enough? Haven’t we lied enough? Haven’t we had enough martyrs?

Well, what of Plymouth and its rock? Every American school child learns that the pilgrims came to this country seeking freedom of religion and landed on this rock, but in reality, Mayflower logs and crew members’ journals demonstrate that the ship was moored off the coast of what is now Truro, at the end of the Cape, not the top, for nearly a month, and that the Pilgrims’ first excursion to land was at what is now Corn Hill in the north of pre-Colonial Truro, and then to what is now “First Encounter” beach in Welfleet, with another stop along the way. First Encounter beach is where the Pilgrims, well, first encountered some of the aboriginal people then living in this country, the Wampanoags. No Plymouth. No rock. Plymouth was the place they eventually founded as a fortification because it was the most protected area they could find, overlying the bay as it does, that wasn’t already inhabited and that had fresh water. But Plymouth must have its tourist industry, too, and therefore, its lies. On Thanksgiving each year the local Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth hold a day of mourning in the town to memorialize their own martyrs -- the native peoples killed by English colonists, principally, in the Pequot massacre and King Phillips’ war since Anglos founded this country. It is their way of honoring those who died for the truth, which is that no one who claims self-righteously to do be doing G_d’s work and then turns around and kills peaceful and innocent babies, children, women and men is at all G_d revering. This is why the separation of church and state is so important; when your persecutors have God on their side, you have no chance.

We do love our lies -- and the money many of us make by putting them about -- we citizens of Massachusetts and America. What was it that Hitler said about lies -- the bigger they are, the more people will believe them?  That maxim, in America, translates into more money for the powerful, who are our military dictators. Arabs decided to start a “symbolic” war with America, according to our leaders, by ploughing planes into impact-resistant skyscrapers and a secure military facility in a no-fly zone.  AIDS occurred naturally.  “Clean” coal. The Salem martyrs were witches.   Haven’t we had enough lies?

It’s a miracle Uncle Ted didn’t go stark raving mad, never mind achieve the personal greatness I believe he did by staying true to his liberal convictions for as long as he really did.  Not two years ago, Senator Kennedy received more than $10 million to write his autobiography.  I suspect that if the truth about his life and career were ever told, the world would be shocked by how many cloak-and-dagger tactics the promotion of each of them involved; you can’t learn that the government you serve was involved in your brothers’ murders and keep your sanity by not doing anything with this knowledge.   I suspect that knowledge was the real reason Senator Kennedy undertook his investigation into the CIA.  It’s an astounding shame today that, contrary to the testimony of insiders, scientific scrutiny and still mounting circumstantial evidence, the United States’ official version of the Kennedy assassinations is that they were both the result of lone, unstable individuals -- both, lies.  Any and every one who espouses the truth about the assassinations is denounced in the most encompassing way as a “conspiracy theorist,” because when our government can’t stop the naked truth from being told about its fascist deeds and structure, it will always seek to supplant that truth with suspicion about its veracity -- suspicion which, by its nature, can neither be proven or denied (because it’s gossip, essentially, like the gossip that killed the Salem martyrs). We Americans do love our lies, in all their forms; we must, or why would we tolerate them? It’s true that a shocking number of the original truth tellers about the assassinations of Senator Kennedy’s brothers have died mysterious deaths, but doesn’t that fact rather indict even more the liars? How Uncle Ted managed to live sanely and productively as long as he did is nothing short of a miracle.

Most people will reflexively think of Uncle Ted this week as the last surviving Kennedy to hold a political office of his generation, but I am left also with the unavoidable and overt impression that he was the one who lived; that he was allowed to live because he was a useful public relations tool from which the fascist military dictatorship under which we now live has benefitted handsomely -- the image of the true liberal who rails against the growing tyranny of what is clearly fascism in America (without noting that it is, curiously), a living symbol of freedom and “democracy.”  He didn’t challenge the status quo too much after America threw him to its wolves when, in 1976, his committee published the Rockefeller Report, and, in return, he was allowed to pursue his interests, however far-ranging and to whatever degree didn’t upset the powers that be (funding for the arts; challenging Supreme Court nominations, helping an immigrant here and there). I can’t help but note that the word, “liberal,” though, is one that derives its meaning from the word, “liberty,” and just as nothing Ted Kennedy ever did in the last 33 of his almost 50 years in Congress to maintain the impetus of liberty with which our country was founded and which is inscribed in our Constitution as sacrosanct has been either sufficient and/or of permanence, so, too, is the sham of our Constitutional Republic patent. It turns out Senator Kennedy’s “liberal” image has been just that -- an image, after all. That is now, sadly, an irrefutable fact and one that calls into question the character and motives of any public official rumored to be even remotely liberal, such as Barack Obama has been merely because of his relationship with the Senator (save for the characterization of him and Michelle by Charles Ogletree, their former law professor, as “conservatives”).  Five months ago, the New York Times reported that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had conveyed the Queen’s knighthood on Senator Kennedy for his service to the cause of peace in Northern Ireland and for his service to U.S.-U.K. relations, in general, which is code for, “his work opening up formerly closed markets for private enterprise and exploitation by global businesses.” There’s something unnerving about a descendant of immigrants from the Emerald Isle bending his knee before the Queen even symbolically, especially when that person was once rumored to have been an IRA sympathizer.  It’s as disturbing as the image of any American bending his knee for the Queen, as former president George H.W. Bush did in 1993. I’m all for world community, but only when that community includes the whole world, not merely its wealthy elites. We -- do -- love -- our -- lies; far more than we love liberty, or the truth, or many of us, each other, including our lions.

Boston’s public radio station, WGBH, began its Classics in the Morning program August 26th with Aaron Copeland’s, Fanfare for the Common Man, a piece that always makes me emotional. I think that’s appropriate. Senator Kennedy did his best to live his liberal convictions in a time in American history when liberal convictions got leaders killed -- which is more than can be said about most Americans, particularly those in his profession. He did it under the constant threat of death, both to himself and to others in his family, when he had only himself and that family to protect him.  When he found he couldn’t live those convictions under that threat, he did what he had to do to protect himself and his loved ones -- particularly, his mother from the premature loss of another son.  He rolled over.   He probably said to himself, 'Well, all these AIDS create markets which create businesses to make treatments for them, such as small-molecule-based HAART (which will never cure any of these AIDS because they’re not designed to), which make many of my constituents rich, and markets must be protected, after all. Never-ending AIDS, like other types of never-ending warfare, is fine, especially since conventional warfare is passé now that it can be waged remotely (and, as such, safely denounced).' Can any of us blame him?  I think not, since to do so without hypocrisy would mean our having exhausted our own energies in the pursuit of our now dead liberty, which is not something any of us today can credibly claim we’ve done.

Citizens of Boston, of Massachusetts and of America -- you who consider yourselves patriots, and you who consider yourselves “liberals” -- if you want to honor Senator Kennedy, I implore you to pick up a book, such as Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (which itself is problematic for its strained avoidance of characterizing the American fascism under which we live as such but is nevertheless informative, just as is preeminent fascist tool John Perkins’s Confessions of An Economic Hit Man).  Open your mind and your eyes. Risk talking the truth with your neighbors, friends, family and colleagues.   Support the Ted Kennedys who are today being, or will soon be, importuned to turn, Senators such as Al Franken. Be a patriot for liberty because if you don’t, you are assuring that Senator Kennedy remains the last liberty-loving patriot to serve our country in its mid-20th century Congress. You are also ensuring that the civil war which is brewing in our country now fulminates.

Rest in peace, Uncle Ted; your slavery is at an end.  If anyone has earned a break, it’s you.
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