Article Overview:   In the 6th Century B.C. the Greeks came up with a way to govern without leaders.   They formed Parents of Vigilance groups of no more than 10,000 and voted on what was right for the future of the Children's Children's Children.   Maybe it's time for Americans to go back to the "well" and remind themselves why a Vigilance Platform is the key to making the future safe from the Beast of Terror.


Tuesday--November 25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 804
The Vigilance Platform:  What America Needs To Fight Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Nov. 25, 2003-- America is in dire need of a sound political platform that cuts through party lines, heals the wounds between left and right, closes the vicious gap between leaders and potential leaders vying for top positions within our government. 
       America needs the Vigilance Platform, one that promotes Courage over Fear, Conviction in place of Intimidation and advocates Right Actions for the benefit of the Children's Children's Children instead of selfish Complacency.
      This platform isn't new.  It goes back to the 6th Century.
      Divisions between people over "what's in it for me today" blinds societies to what are the best decisions for future generations.  This "Selfish Complacency" tends to rule modern politics as factions fight to win the support of people who are more concerned with their needs than the future needs of a nation and a world struggling to rise out of the primordial ooze of Terrorism.    

Democracy goes back to the ancient Greeks in the 6th Century B.C.

     Democracy, "the rights of the people," isn't a new concept.   It wasn't recently invented.   It goes back to the 6th Century B.C. to the ancient Greeks who pressed two words together--demos, meaning people and kratein, meaning rule--to form a system of self-governing where the people chose the future of their society.
      There was something else the Greeks designed when democracy was born, and that was the city-state.   The Greeks formed these city-states in populations not greater than 10,000 and voting was done by the citizens.   There were no "leaders," in this system.  The people voted for what was right for their society of 10,000.
      Later, when the Roman Empire took hold from 509-27 B.C., representative government was formed.   Citizens elected representatives to bring their Voice to the surface.   

Democracy evolved further with the Magna Carta in 1215

        Democracy evolved further with the Magna Carta in 1215 that created a Parliament.  It was enhanced by the 1628 Petition of Rights that denied the King the right to raise taxes without Parliament's permission, and the Bill of Rights in 1659 that expanded freedom of speech and attacked cruel and unusual punishment of citizens.
      Modern democracy owes much of its sinew to a couple of English and French philosophers, John Locke and Jean Jacque Rousseau.    In 1690 English philosopher Locke said in "Two Treatises" that government's role was to protect the "natural rights" which included "life, liberty and the ownership of property."
      In 1762, Rousseau put his French spin on the importance of democracy in The Social Contract.
      When France overthrew its King during the French Revolution, Rousseau's and Locke's footprints helped carve out the "Declaration of The Rights Of Man," which modified earlier rights to include the rights to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression."

Thomas Paine was instrumental in promoting "natural rights"

     In concert with these revelations about self-government was Thomas Paine, who wrote the "Rights of Man," and was instrumental in promoting the "natural rights" of all, not subject to any government.    Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the U.S. Constitution, weaved into the document centuries of history and experience, as well as the "right of revolt," as stated in the Declaration of Independence, that allows the rights of the people to trump any government.
      But, to truly examine the role of government, one must not be seduced into thinking that what exists today is the "best" or the "most right" form of government.    Perhaps the "best" or "most right" government was the one that launched the current system--the Greek system that allowed the citizens of city-states of no more than 10,000 to vote on issues and act as a community rather than subjects of government.
      Vigilance is about this kind of self-government.
       Vigilance is not about electing leaders to guide us through the maze of life, for when one gives over his or her rights to another, there is always a watering down of those rights, a whittling of them, a shredding of their power and might as they are mixed within the potpourri of other people's rights.

Vigilance is not about electing leaders to guide us

        By nature, human beings tend to be selfish.   We are naturally interested in what is best for us.   Survival first seems to rule our instincts, and then, once we have conquered survival -- i.e. food on the table, roof over our heads, clothes on our back--if we have any extra time, money or food, we might just share some of it with others who are in need.
        I worked for a man once who had a simple philosophy that dovetails with this point of view.   He said often:  "My kids go skinny last."
        Everyone understood what he was saying.   There was no need for long-winded explanations.
        However, today, the political issues facing our country and the world at large aren't about eating, or shelter, or clothing--the fundamentals of life.
       The true political issue we face is the "social contract" that John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau splashed before our eyes in their effort to make us responsible for far more than our immediate needs.     

We have a contract with the future...for the Children's Children's Children

         The "social contract" is about selflessness rather than selfishness.    It is a contract not with the present, but with the future.   It has little to do with the "here and now" but everything to do with the Children and their Children's Children's Children.
          In addition, the two philosophers brought up an issue most politicians like to duck, the issue of "natural rights."  Politicians don't like talking about "natural rights" because, by their natures, politicians like to "legislate rights."  They like to think that government gives people rights, issues them down from some lofty highlands.    To accept people have "natural rights" is to deny their power, their purpose, their righteous belief that people need to be lead.
          The ancient Greeks knew better.   The original democracy was about people coming together in small franchises of less than 10,000 to vote collectively as a society on issues that impacted their community.    Each retained his or her "natural rights" and couldn't fathom giving them over to anyone, not even to a "representative."   The rights were pure, undiluted.
          America took this tool when it originally designed its democratic template.   It called for one "representative" per 30,000 population, three times that of the original Greek formula.  In the early 20th Century the politicians, seeking more power and control, put a cap on "representative leadership."   Fearing the power of immigrants to have a larger Voice in government, the Congress in 1911 capped the number of representatives to 435.
         Today, with a population of 290 million, the U.S. representative government has gone from 1:30,000 to 1:666,666.   In comparison, England's House of Commons has 651 members with a population of 59 million creating representation of 1:90,000.
         Ironically, the Congressional support systems--staffers who help manage the offices of the 435 Legislators--have swollen in size to support the "representatives."   In 1930 there were 870 House employees.  In 1999, the employees exceeded 7,200.
         So here we are.  Our "government of natural rights" is being managed by a few "leaders" who try to juggle the "rights" of more than a half-million people (and it's growing), and rely on a staff of thousands of non-elected, often very young college students, to manage the needs of a society.

Democracy is far from perfect

        Power crams itself into a few heads.   Recently, for example, during the filibuster to block the appointment of federal judges, politicians read from books to eat up time.   Issues of vital national importance were subjugated to readings from books such as "Captains and Masters," a signal that perhaps our leadership is more concerned in showing their power to the opposition than reflecting on the issues of the day.
        All these facts are not intended to denigrate democracy, or to suggest that American democracy is wrong.   It's not.  But, as has been said many times, it is far from perfect.
        What has happened, I believe, over time is a gradual but dangerous distancing of our "representatives" from the heartbeat of democracy.   The real issue in any democracy is protecting the future "natural rights" of the children.
         If the "social contract" is valid, it means that society is more important than the individuals who comprise it.   And, this is the tricky part, that the individual's natural rights are more important than those of society's.
         At first glance, these two seem to conflict--society vs. individual?   But, when one looks at the two through the eyes of Vigilance, one sees the two as one.    Society is the "parent" and the individual is the "child."
         The "parent's" duty or "social contract" is to protect the rights of the "children."   That means the decisions the parent makes today must be to the benefit of the "children," and not just the immediate "children," but the "children's children's children," at the least.

A child is not measured by his or her parent's race, color creed, ethnicity or national origins

      Natural rights include the rights of all, not the few.  American children's rights are not above the rights of those children in Africa or Iraq or North Korea or France.     A child's rights supercede all other rights, and that child is not measured by his or her parent's race, color, creed, ethnicity or national origins.
       Children's rights stand separate from those of adults for one simple reason--a child cannot chose.   A child is, by definition, pure innocence.   A child cannot change who or what he or she is, while a parent or adult can.   A parent or adult can change his or her name, immigrate to another land, alter his or her color or physiognomy through science, even alter his or her sex.
          A child can only ride the wake of the adult, become either a victim of the relationship or a beneficiary of it.    Children become the mirror of their parents, of the adult world that they are reared within.
         Children raised in homes or societies that breed hatred for or against others have a great chance of assuming the same demean as their environment.  While this isn't always the case, the odds favor the child being shaped and sometimes ravaged by what he or she is taught, witnesses or experiences.
          Adults have a duty to a child that goes far beyond their own beliefs and convictions.   They have the duty to protect the child's "natural rights," to allow the child to grow and prosper without being victimized by parental prejudices or bigotries, by teaching the child to chose and think and become responsible for his or her actions, even those that may be in opposition to those of the parent.

Adults have a duty to teach Children about the Beast of Terror....

          This leads us to the real duty of parenthood.   That is to teach the child about he presence of the Beast of Terror and its counterpart, the Sentinel of Vigilance.
          Teaching a child that there is a Beast of Terror is to teach a child that Fear, Intimidation and Complacency exist, just as air exists, or the sun rises and sets.

....and that the Sentinel of Vigilance can overpower the Terror of the Beast

        Teaching a child that a Sentinel of Vigilance exists is to also teach that Courage can replace Fear, that Conviction can overpower Intimidation and that Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children is the great goal of overcoming Social Complacency.
          In politics, as we know it today, adults use Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to seek power over others.   Assaults on one another for "abusing" their positions of leadership is the soup of the day.    Bitter attacks of one political would-be against another in or out of office is the message the child hears.    It ends up that people vote for the "lesser of two evils," for the "best of the worst."
         The Vigilance Party, or Vigilance Platform, denies the right of the political pundit to use attack as weapon of attaining power.   If power is to be sought, it must be won not through hurling invectives or trying to cripple an opponent by advertising the flaws and cracks of his or her character---but by promoting programs and actions that benefit future generations.
         The Vigilance Platform talks only in terms of how issues being faced today will have positive impacts on generations three fold from now.
         Take the most current issue:  The War In Iraq.
         Where is the Vigilance Rhetoric?
         It is buried, suffocating in diatribes between the Administration on one hand seeking to defend its actions, and political wolves seeking to attack the Administration's efforts to rebuild Iraq.

The above document reminds us we have a duty to protect children's rights

        History reminds us that the "natural rights" of citizens is the key to democracy.   The "Declaration of The Rights Of Man," reminds us we have a duty to protect the children's rights to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression."
         We speak about bringing "freedom" and "liberty" to Iraq, and we promote the importance of that "freedom" and "liberty" to the people of Iraq, but, we forget to talk about the "social contract," and that we adhere to that "contract" because we are making decisions three generations from now, for the Children's Children's Children.
         We don't hear the words:  "Children's Children's Children" being bantered about by politicians, arguing for what is right for Iraq's future.   Instead, we hear arguments about putting Iraqi's in charge of their country and then leaving, as though the current generation that was brought up under tyranny and oppression can suddenly shift gears in a blink and embrace democracy and liberty.    With more than half the population of Iraq under the age of 20, and, with Saddam Hussein ruling for more than 23 years, the children have been spoon fed Terrorism and the parents Complacent to it.
         It's not unlike Americans becoming Complacent to living under the tyranny and oppression of a government of 435 Legislators.    For more than 90 years, Americans have watched their government grow more detached from the issues that affect daily life and more elevated upon pedestals that distance them from the grass roots.
        Tyranny and oppression are the fuels of Terrorism, and they do not always come in the forms of bombs and bullets, or suicide attacks, or blowing up Blackhawk helicopters.   Sometimes these fuels ignite spontaneously, through Complacency.      

Vigilance is the antidote for Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in out society

         Vigilance is the antidote to allowing Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to fester within our society.   It demands us to think about Iraq and our own welfare through the eyes of a Sentinel of Vigilance, a Parent or Grandparent of Vigilance or a Loved One of Vigilance.
         If we look long and hard, we see that our duty is to stand up for what is right in Iraq.   It means we need to throw the words of the French back at them.  We need to open Rousseau's book, "Declaration of The Rights Of Man," and remind the French that the words "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression" applies to Iraq just as it did to the French Revolution.
          Did America have a right to invade Iraq?  Does it have a right to install democracy and liberty in a land where politics might suggest we should turn and run fast before we get further bogged down by Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency?
          If you are a subscriber to Vigilance,  if you are a member of the Vigilance Platform  you agree with America and its efforts in Iraq.
          If we believe in the "social contract" and cherish the "natural rights" of our children and the "natural rights" of all children, if we believe that all people have the right to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression," then we cannot turn our heads and look the other way to the future of Iraq, or any nation that seeks to quash its future generational rights.
         It also means we need to step back from our own selfish opinions about "who and what is right," and shed our political shrouds and personal opinions shaped and formed by our own personal experiences and beliefs---and take a hard, long look at the future of the Children's Children's Children.
         If we can divorce ourselves from our selfish viewpoints, might we possibly be able to see selflessness for the future of the children of Iraq as well as our own?  Might we suddenly realize that we need to support the efforts to bring the "social contract" of democracy to Iraq no matter what the costs?
         And, might we also take a long second look at our form of representative government and question whether we are being represented properly or improperly?

    And, if we realize that maybe the Greeks had something we've lost, maybe we should all take or re-take the Pledge of Vigilance and become a Sentinel or Parent or Grandparent of Vigilance so that the Beast of Terror doesn't sneak up when we're not looking and eat what little natural rights are left on our Thanksgiving table.


Nov. 24--Mickey Mouse Reeling Under Terrorism Of Age

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