Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
in the Shadow of Rome
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relative equality of Americans before 1776 has been overwhelmed
by a thousand forms of physical, mental, and economic differentiation,
so that the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest is now
greater than at any time since Imperial plutocratic Rome."
-- Will & Ariel Durant, *The Lessons of History* (1968)
Who among us
Of the millions
of Americans who were actually allowed to cast their vote, who among
that number actually voted in favor of a foreign policy that required
armed Americans to fashion another nation in America's image?
Who, among that
admittedly limited number, voted to make the Americans the Makers
of Princes in lands where most people speak a language unknown to
the vast majority of Americans?
In the earliest
days of the American republic, when a tight, nervous knot of men
(for they were *all* men) met in Philadelphia in the late 1770s,
they had before them two examples that drew their admiration, and
emerged as models of what form of government this new nation would
adopt: Rome and Britain. For two of the delegates, Messrs. James
Madison of Virginia and John Dickinson of Delaware, these two
examples were most attractive. Madison wanted a Roman-style Senate,
but with popular elections. Dickinson wanted a Senate more like
the British House of Lords, elected, not by the people, but by state
legislatures. Dickinson won, and it was over a century before the
people would be allowed to vote for their 'representatives' (so
for 'democracy', huh?).
The point is
that two examples loomed large in the American mind at the very
beginning: *both were global empires*.
Why didn't Americans
look to ancient (or even native-born, i.e., 'Indian') democracies?
They didn't want democracy; they wanted to build a state that protected
their wealth and privilege, but *seemed* to be democratic. That's
why it took until 1912 for Americans to vote for 'their representatives',
with the 7th Amendment. *That's why today, in the year 2003, there
is not a constitutional right to vote.* If you doubt this, remember
the 'election' of 2000, when *Bush v. Gore* was decided. If you
recall there were perhaps tens of thousands of people who were disenfranchised
from voting. The courts have been largely silent on this grave usurpation.
That's because they know there is no direct constitutional right
to vote; it is a state right, 'protected' by state statutes, state
courts and state constitutions. The Supreme Court decided *Bush
v. Gore*, not based on the constitutional rights of the citizen
to vote, but on 'Equal
Protection' under the 13th and 14th Amendments! How deliciously
ironic that the Constitutional Amendment which was designed to protect
the constitutional rights of Black Americans, newly 'freed' from
244 years of bondage, would be instead the tool used to usurp their
'right' to vote in Florida, and justified the judicial usurpation
of the political process, to install the bottom half of the Bush
We are, all
of us, subject to the autocratic whims of any Imperial state, that
seeks to jettison every semblance of any constitutional protection
that is promised by the Bill of Rights. We live in a judicial-military-media
dictatorship, which, like its predecessors in
England and Rome, professes to speak for 'the People', while protecting
and enriching the class that placed it on the throne.
In ancient Rome,
the Senate and the Emperors kept Rome engaged in endless wars on
the frontier, to keep the Army away from ideas of seizing control
of the lush, wealthy City. For ancient Romans, anyone who wasn't
Roman was seen as a 'barbarian.' The current term of art is 'terrorist.'
The U.S. Empire bombs thousands, doesn't bother to count the dead,
and yet lashes out at retail bombers as
'terrorists.' The media, enjoying the spoils of Empire (good ratings)
joins the fun by praising the wisdom and goodness of the Emperor
and his troops.
Those who question
this martial wisdom are denounced as traitors and run from their
businesses or professions. Yet, we are assured, this is a War to
bring Democracy to 'Other People.'
America is drunk
on the wine of Empire, and like Rome, cannot see the precipice that
looms before it; the pride that cometh before the fall.
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final -- Free Mumia!
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.