How to Revive a Spiritually Dead America in One Easy Lesson!

“Live by the truth..It is the only [choice] for a soul.”

— Alexander Solzhenitsyn [1]

On Feb. 2, 2007, the deaths of six more U.S. troops in Iraq were reported, bringing the total dead in that illegal war to 3,092. This is the same conflict, hatched by the scheming Neocons, that is costing the nation $8.4 billion a month, with some economists putting the total financial impact now at around $2 trillion. [2] Also, the Corps of Army Engineers, on Feb. 2nd, warned that 122 levees around the country were at “risk of failing.” In other words, another “Katrina-like” disaster is looming around the corner. In the city of my birth, Baltimore, Maryland, there were over 300 homicides last year, and already in 2007, 29 people have been gunned down on its streets. On top of all that, experts say that climate change is “unequivocal,” that its cause is likely “man-made,” and that it will “continue for centuries” to come. [3]

If the past is prologue, we know that all of the above problems will simply get worse. (Is this what you want to leave as a legacy to your children and your grandchildren?) This will be especially so, if more of the American people don’t soon wake up from their deep trance, confront their own spiritually dead souls and decide to do something transformative about themselves and this troubled nation. Meanwhile, the arrogant Bush-Cheney Gang is asking for $285 billion in additional funding from our depleted national treasury for the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some suspect they are also planning a war with Iran. [4] At the same time, a mostly do-nothing Senate, on Capitol Hill, is faking it by pushing a non binding Resolution opposing Bush’s “Surge” scheme in Iraq. Is there any way out of this mess? Well, there is, but it is going to take courage for most Americans to make a new beginning.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who survived the horrific Gulag of the demented Joseph Stalin and his evil henchmen, had a remedy. In addressing the condition of the damaged soul of the Russian people, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, he penned a piece, entitled, “Live Not by Lies.” [1] It was dated Feb. 12, 1974, the very day the popular chronicler was arrested by the dreaded Secret Police and exiled to Germany. It centered on how “obedience to lies” had robbed a people of their souls, keeping them “in the herd, and a coward,” and what do to about it.

I think, in 2007, Solzhenitsyn’s essay has relevance to an America, now languishing for over six years under the morally bankrupt regime of President George W. Bush and V.P. Dick Cheney. This is a regime, which is a master of deception. It lied us into the Iraqi War. Iraq didn’t have any WMD, ties to Al-Qaeda or any connections to 9/11. These clever manipulators “fixed the intelligence” around the preset go-to-war policy. [5] Solzhenitsyn offers America a way out in his commentary on lies. But, the people must be willing to first accept full responsibility for this current lamentable situation, and then–be brave enough to take corrective action about the many problems facing the nation.

Author Solzhenitsyn underscored that the Russian people, via a dehumanization process, which included being subjected to indoctrination for decades in “political courses,” had deceived themselves into believing that they couldn’t do anything about their problems. I wonder if our dumb-down culture, with its rash of TV reality programs, isn’t doing the same to us? The Russian people told themselves: “We are powerless.” Solzhenitsyn’s keen analysis: “We lie to ourselves for assurances. And it is not ‘they’ who are to blame for everything–we ourselves, only we.” And, therefore, ergo: It is the “We” who can change things.

Paulo Freire put it another way in his classic book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” He said the individual should stop identifying with the system that he or she feels “hopeless” about, and to begin to see himself or herself as an agent of change, as someone who can “create history and become a historical-social [being].” He wrote that the system can reduce people to a commodity level. In order to regain their humanity, Freire said: “They must cease to be ‘things’ and fight as men.” [6] I know most Americans don’t think of themselves as “oppressed,” but maybe they should. How else can your explain what has happened to them over the last six years, with respect to their lower standard of living, the wars in the Middle East being fought for special interests, loss of middle class jobs, huge tax cuts for the rich, in the degradation of the environment and in the rising gap in the rich-poor divide? [7]

Solzhenitsyn cautioned that there can be no change for a people as long as they “daily, acknowledge, extol–and do not sever [themselves] from the…lies.” He urged the Russian citizenry to say to themselves: “Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything[they will not get] any help from me.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), one of America’s greatest daughters, has shown us the way on this issue. She shouted it out on the National Mall, on Jan. 27, 2007, at a massive anti-Iraqi War rally: “George Bush is not ‘the decider.’ He is ‘the liar!'” [8] Each one of us has an obligation to familiarize him or herself with the serial lies that led us into the Iraqi War. [5] And, then each of us has a solemn duty to follow Waters’ example, using his or her conscience as a guide, to take on the Bush-Cheney Gang, and their collaborators.

Another related idea: Stop kowtowing to the War Hawks, like: Sen. “Turncoat Joe” Lieberman (IND-CT) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); along with the rabid media warmongers, such as: William Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Richard Perle, Sean O’Hannity, Ann Coulter, Cal Thomas and Rush Limbaugh. Don’t let these contemptible hawks lie us into another war, this time with Iran. Fight back, America!

Solzhenitsyn continued: “When people renounce lies, it simply cuts short ‘their’ existence. Like an infection, ‘they’ [the lies] can exist only in a living organism…This is our path, the easiest and most accessible one…If we did not sew together the rotting rags, we should be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside…That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.” He said the Russian people should stop fearing “acts of civil courage.”

The great Russian author emphasized, “So, in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously to remain a servant of falsehood…or…to become an honest man [or women] worthy of respect.” Solzhenitsyn then listed nine “deviations from falsehood,” that an individual could adopt along the way of transformation. One of my favorite stated: “Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.” (Take that Rupert Murdock’s “New York Post!”) Solzhenitsyn added: “There are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest…Either truth or falsehood: Towards spiritual independence or towards spiritual servitude.”

Keep in mind, that liars must also be punished. Bush and Cheney must be shown to be the liars, that they are. They also must be, for the sake of our Republic, driven out of public office for their breaches of the public trust and imprisoned for their criminal misconduct. Nothing less than bringing these two to the Bar of Justice can put our country back on an even keel. [9]

Finally, permit me to put all of the above in the colloquial jargon: America is going down the toilet! What are you going to do about it? Let me suggest that you make a copy of Solzhenitsyn’s essay, “Live Not by Lies,” and send it to your House of Representative member in the U.S. Congress and also to your two U.S. Senators. Put a personal note with it and say something like this: “No more lies. End the Iraqi war. No war with Iran. Bring our troops home, now. Put America’s interest first and work to reverse global warming. My Republic isn’t a global cop for the Wire Pullers of the New World Order. And–Impeach Bush and Cheney!


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[6]. “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, at pp. 43-44.
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