Time to Take a Stand

Political crap you don’t want to read about, right?  Just hear me out.  Avoidance develops ignorance and reflects as tolerance.

Guantanamo Bay is not a place I think about on a regular basis, as I am sure most American’s can relate.  I know it was constructed to detain terrorists and protect the world from their lethal plots.  I know there has been controversy surrounding who is actually being held there and how they are being treated.  I know, and still Guantanamo Bay is not in my mind.  The individuals residing there for over ten years have no face, no name and no presence in my life.

Until the other day I was struck by a news story on the radio about a hunger strike taking place at Guantanamo Bay.  The story was brief, explaining several dozen prisoners had chosen to withhold eating starting back in February as a means to draw attention to the fact they have been held without trial for eleven years.  Immediately it reminded me of hearing cases of men who had been farmers, cooks and drivers with nothing to do with acts of terrorism who had been sent to Guantanamo Bay.  HELD WITHOUT TRIAL FOR ELEVEN YEARS.  The news story reflected the government’s position as downplaying the severity of the hunger strike despite admitting eight inmates had been placed on feeding tubes due to their declining health.

I researched more on the situation going on at Guantanamo Bay and was saddened to find there weren’t many news sources reporting on it.  What I was able to discover is of the 166 prisoners the majority have been participating in the hunger strike, most of them have not been Camp_x-ray_detaineestried (85 prisoners there today have been cleared for release since December 2011),  and over 80% of the prisoners had not been captured by the U.S. military in combat.  Of the 779 detainees brought to Guantanamo 80+% had been turned in by Pakistanis and Afghans in exchange for a $5,000 bounty provided by none other than your United States government.  This means no proof, no evidence, just one man’s word over another who was in the wrong place and the wrong time to be turned in as a terrorist.  My stance is not all prisoner’s at Guantanamo Bay are innocent, there are likely some who have bad intentions and justifiably should be punished.  However, for those who have been captured, interrogated, locked up and not allowed an opportunity to return to their homes – it’s sickening.  And this is without even mentioning the reports of beating, torture, abuse and humiliation which the U.S. denies despite claims be substantiated by other investigative agencies.  This has been an eleven year nightmare I have turned a blind eye to, demonstrating tolerance in allowing this to continue.

A hunger strike by the detainees represents a means to an end of the suffering.  An effort to draw attention to the injustice of criminalizing innocent people we have accepted as part of the conditions of being at war or to die and slow and miserable death by starvation.  It is tragic the American people have not been offered the honest facts happening at Guantanamo.  Or is it more related to our judgement and fear related to terrorism which is publicized and overshadows the terror our military has imposed on others?  In either case, this has to end.

We have more to fear in the United States about violent acts of crime committed by other desperate Americans.  Americans cope with poor education, sexual and physical abuse, lack of proper medical care, astronomical rates of mental illness, addictions and the inability to sustain themselves financially.  We are constantly faced with situations to condition fear, anger and hatred of others.  The terror is happening at home with Americans in conflict with each other, yet trillions of our tax dollars have been spent overseas to fight a war with no end in sight and to imprison innocent men at Guantanamo Bay.  Our American troops are terrorized too, their lives and their families lives are forever impacted by the missions they have been ordered to carry out.  Soldiers are returning home carrying the stress of fear and guilt, causing depression, addiction, violence and suicide.  We are more at risk of an act of violence by an American then by an “act of terrorism” from overseas.

I’d like my tax dollars to focus on making America safe by providing for the next generation to learn to love, ensuring everyone has a proper standard of living, education is a priority, healthcare is affordable and social services are easily accessible for those who need it.  Enough is enough, it’s time to take a stand.

If you agree and want to take a stand with me, please share, voice what you know to others especially when you hear someone making judgments without the proper facts.  Silence is acceptance of the status quo, please don’t accept the crimes against humanity happening for the last eleven years.  It’s time to release them from their suffering and to bring our tax dollars home.

stand

Can inspiration be drawn from state government?

I am no expert on state government, I don’t get involved in local politics and I am not into advocating for different ordinances.  I have consistently paid my state taxes on time and I have been a state employee.  Based on these items, I felt compelled to write about my thoughts when a letter from the State Department of Revenue arrived in the mail.

First, my history working with the state was not a fulfilling, healthy employment experience.  Once I realized my position in middle management I understood my battle to supervise staff could never be won with the hypocrisy of administrators managing things above me.  At times I described my situation as trying to reverse a freight train of unproductive behaviors, beliefs and systems that would/will perpetuate the wasteful spending and abuse of the system.  Ultimately this effects every single state taxpayer by draining their pockets to continue this cycle whether they realize it or not.  Just think every state taxpayer has something they wish would be improved in the state – education, healthcare, roads, support for the military – and we continue to hear about limited budgets and financial crisis.  My experience working for the state felt immoral, illogical and toxic at times since I maintained my common sense and strong ethics.  I was able to appreciate the job for educating me on how my tax dollars are blown, for the knowledge of how the state tolerates negligent employees and an understanding of how individuals work their way into positions of power not by evoking change for the positive, rather schmoozing up the ladder by helping others to cover-up situations and make themselves look better.

Needless to say, when a letter from the State Department of Revenue arrived and declared the state does not have a record of us paying state taxes in 2009…  Anger erupted from the dark black box inside of me where I have been burying hatred from this job and the recognition of what is wrong with the state government.  And at the same time I realize, it makes sense they would loose the paper work for our taxes.  It makes sense they wouldn’t look this over back in 2010, maybe, and try to correct mistakes then.  It makes sense they are out of money and have to go back years to collect on it now.  It makes sense that governments can be corrupt, spend wastefully and demand that we have to go out of our way to provide them evidence when they loose it.  Who is there to make the government accountable for change?

I wish I knew the answer for effecting change in such a damaged system.  Going back to the title of this post, I hope there will be inspiration to change the status quo of our government systems.  I hope at some point sooner then later, the populations living within these government systems realize how to unite to hold the governments accountable for the disasters they have created for us big and small.

Until then this disgruntled, former state employee had better go resubmit my 2009 state taxes to settle my small disaster.