GRANNY D'S SPEECH AT WARTBURG COLLEGE IN IOWA, 11-7-07
Thank you. It's wonderful to be here today at Wartburg, which I have long
admired as one of America's great liberal arts colleges.
I would like to underline that word "liberal" in the context of liberal
arts. It does not, of course, refer to big government, or to left-of-center
politics. No, as I'm sure you know, it refers to the art of thinking
freely--training the mind to think for itself, free of the lies and
fantasies and prejudices that wrap around us from an early age. In this
time, the very idea of human life on the planet is at stake.
War and violence have taken new and decidedly more dangerous turns.
So you are doing well to be freeing your minds right now. That is a
difficult task, as there are so many forces around you, telling you what and
how to think, and selling you incredible lies. The War on Terrorism is a
good example. It is a term used to keep you from thinking freely and from
actually solving the world's problems relating to poverty and freedom. If
you solved those problems you would severely damage the profits of the
elite. The very idea that you can have war on terror is as silly as the idea
that you can have war on anger.
War itself is insane anger.
As the world's resources become stressed by global warming and
overpopulation, do we really think we can kill all the angry people? Can we
calm them down by dropping bombs on their villages and spraying their
families with machine gun bullets? Isn't that rather like dropping gasoline
and crumpled newspaper on forest fires instead of water? Do you think anyone
really thinks it will work? They don't even want it to work.
War is too profitable.
It is profitable for those who finance the careers of our politicians.
Islamo-fascism, as a label, is yet another fraud used to keep you from
thinking freely. Some people in the world are so desperate and angry that
they will blow themselves up just to hurt us, that is true. But it has to do
with the conditions of their lives, not with religion.
Religion is always the excuse for murder, but rarely the motive. If I tell
you that God wants us all to clean up the dining rooms tonight, to scrub
every seat and scrape-off every blob of gum, you will thank me for my
opinion and you will back out of the room en masse. If, however, I tell you
that God wants us all to storm the administration building tonight and
change our grades to straight A's, then how many of you will answer God's
In war, religion is a cover and an organizing convenience. That's all it has
ever been, going back to the Crusades, which were all about treasure and
rape. The "War on Terrorism," has very little to do with anyone's religious
beliefs. Terrorism, historically, is a term used to describe what
governments do to rule through fear--to overrule the rule of law. The term
originated after the French Revolution as a tool for suppressing dissent. If
we are to truly prosecute a War on Terrorism, it would inclue preventing
governments from using fear to shred the democratic rule of law.
If you want to stop insane anger in the world, you have to get at world
poverty and the injustices that people suffer as nations ruthlessly jockey
"We don't negotiate with terrorists."
Anytime you hear tough language like that, you will do well to assume it
means the opposite.
If we actually don't negotiate with terrorists, you would have heard the
President make a speech proclaiming that: "Nothing our enemies do will
persuade us in the least to give up on our principles. We will hold fast to
our Bill of Rights and to the cherished Geneva Convention. All suspects will
be afforded a lawyer and a trial and humane treatment, no matter what. We
will not run like cowards away from the Constitution and the human values
that our people have fought and died to protect and improve. We will not
give any of that up to the terrorists in exchange for some hope of extra
safety. We will not negotiate."
THAT would be refusing to negotiate with terrorists. But that is not what
this government has done. In terms of giving up on things of value, this
government has knelt down and emptied its pockets after the first punch. It
was profitable for some people for this to happen.
Not only has our so-called government given away our basic human
rights--turned them over to the terrorists in exchange for worthless hopes
of safety--but they have subjected you and me to endless little indignities
unbecoming American citizens. Why do they harass you at the airports,
refusing to let you stop your car for a moment at the curb to pick-up your
friends? Do they think that, by harassing you in this way, that they are in
any way preventing a truck from driving up and exploding? They of course
It is not about that. it is about keeping you fearful, and reminding us
that We the People no longer have the power. Speak up at the airport and you
will be whisked away. What a wonderful place an airport is to teach us all
about the new country we are living in. So you take off your shoes because
one madman had an exploding shoe some years ago. I'm not sure which is
worse: one possible tragedy like that, or the smell of a hundred million
The point of this airport ceremony is to physically humiliate you into
subservience to the new state. Get used to it, because it is just getting
started--if you will let it. Any politician you hear talking seriously about
the War on Terror or about Islamo-Fascism is lying to you and trying to
prevent you from thinking freely. Call them on it. Tell them you think those
terms are really just a lot of BS meant to deflect attention from the real
issues of world poverty, the unsustainable exploitation of resources and
other issues that we, in fact, could address seriously with a fraction of
what we spend on counterproductive warfare--though we understand it is
highly profitable for some.
If you are a psych major or have taken some psych courses, you understand
that we often transfer to others the things we fear most within ourselves.
When some leaders label others with words like terrorist, let them look
first to what they are themselves doing in the world. Are they upholding the
human rights encoded in the U.S. Constitution, and in the Geneva Convention,
and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? If they are not, then they
have forfeited their right to label other people in any disparaging way..
Do they understand that 90% of the people who die in war are civilians, and
that any pre-emptive, meaning non-provoked war, is by definition an act of
In the term "Islamo-fascist, let's look a little closer. The term "fascist"
was popularized by Mussolini to describe how corporate interests could be
combined with an authoritarian government. If some American leader has
assumed dictatorial powers by claiming the ability to disregard laws, and if
he has given no-bid contracts with billions of dollars to friendly
corporations that he has an actual family interest in, then he may indeed
want to transfer the word Fascist as far away from himself as possible, but
we see through this with our free minds. The historical shoe fits.
The fact of our condition is that we have two governments. We have a
faceless government that has secret prisons, its own rules, a suspension of
all our rights, and its own armies and budgets. It laughs at us when we
think we can tell it what to do. It has been around for some time -certainly
since the early 60s when we started losing the leaders who actually
represented our values. We do have another government. It is the one where
we have debates, campaigns, elections (more or less), and where the winners
play at a Congress. This government has fallen in power as the other has
I have lived long enough to see the dimming of lights in the Capitol
These people no longer much represent you and me. The mainstream news keeps
us from seeing the truth of this. We are expected to be happy with our
wonderful cars and your wonderful music players and our fancy phones that
can message back and forth. But we have been left without anything of our
own to say that is not a rewrite of a commercial. If you are not hearing the
truth from the mainstream media, it is because there is a game here, and one
of the main rules of the game is that you have to pretend we are still a
government of, by and for its people. If you cannot live in that fantasy,
you will be ostracized as a nut case, a fanatic, a fringe element.
That is part of the control mechanism that you have to understand if you
would be free to think for yourself.
If, to create an absurd example, the family of George Bush were investors
together in oil partnerships with the Bin Laden family, or if George Bush
Senior were a part of a company like the Carlyle Group that has profited
greatly from the Iraq War, would those stories be all over CNN and in the
front pages of newspapers, or would those stories violate the fantasy and
therefore be ignored? Well, those stories happen to be true, so judge for
yourself if we have a problem with the news media.
How, indeed, do we bring order into the chaos of our lives once we reject
the lies around us? What is the thing that is not a lie? Where is a fixed
star by which we can navigate our lives through the ever-warming waters
Somewhere, perhaps less than a mile from here, there is someone who didn't
come to this lecture. This person took time out of his or her day to go
tutor a kid or help an older person--maybe to help someone learn a needed
language. There is the star. That person out there has more to tell you than
I do, for Love is the only truth that can save us from lies and from anger
and sad living.
The real division of politics in the world is between truth and love on one
hand, which call for the happy development of every human's highest
potential, and the politics of fear and hate on the other hand, which are
known by exploitation and oppression. You know which kind of politics is at
the helm today. Maybe an election or two can make some improvements.
But, even so, we still have this little problem with the other government,
the one that thinks it is really in charge of our lives and our world--the
one the world knows very well.
When the storm destroyed New Orleans, the wealthy neighborhoods suddenly had
armed Blackwater guards at their gates. These machine-gun toting men were
from other nations and had no familiarity with our Bill of Rights. They
would have followed any order. In that storm, we saw the future, if we will
allow it. Race is more important in organizing political differences than
economic class. So now we see a rise in racial conflict in America, even in
places where we wouldn't have imagined it a few years ago. The uneasy peace
between the races in America made possible by the post World War II boom is
now moving into difficult times. It is aggravated by the immigration issue.
Can you see these issues freely?
You read the newspapers and the internet news sites, and you watch the Daily
Show, so you know just about everything. Or do you?
The U.S. Farm program, voted for by our elected representatives, subsidizes
the corn industry so heavily that American corporations sell corn in Mexico
for half of what Mexico's family farmers can sell it for. So half the farms
in Mexico have gone out of business. Farm families have migrated to Mexico's
big cities, where there is so much poverty that all one can do is plan to
sneak into America for decent wages. They die on our desert borders. If it
were easy to come and go, how could we oppress them so easily? We have come
to rely upon this oppression for the smooth operation of our communities.
But you will not hear about this story on the TV news, will you? It is
outside the accepted fantasy.
The lies that surround us drive emotions and they drive unkindness and
cruelty, which are the signposts of misinformation and misunderstanding.
People who are not free of mind are not kindly of mind. Kindness is
freedom's truest indicator. If you cannot stop to help someone who clearly
needs your help, you are not a free man or woman. Your chains may have the
glamorous attachments of Blackberries and credit cards, but you are not free
if your time is not your own to follow your heart. If you are looking for a
strategy to improve relations between the races, between straight and gay
people, between religions, you must understand that such peace is most
achievable when there is sufficient truth and prosperity to go around, and
when there is the kindness that is the product of those two.
To preserve prosperity in the world, agriculture and nature must be saved.
The coal plants must be shut down--all of them--within the next few years.
Gasoline-powered automobiles must be phased-out in the next ten years.
International trade must be largely curtailed in favor of local production.
These are the issues of a politics of love, and they cannot go forward
without some free thinking and some knocking-down of immense lies now in
place. Free thinking, prosperity and kindness, so intertwined, make
cooperative living easier to achieve, and push intolerance away. We have a
lot of work to do, but, can you see it? Do you have a glimpse of it? Can you
stand the idea of Google-ing a little more Noam Chomsky and a little less
USA Today? That would be a good beginning.
Churchill was correct when he said the empires of the future are the empires
of the mind. The big battle for the future is being fought right now in your
mind. Your freedoms are closing-in around you. Our present circumstances
seem to necessitate a new and democratic international compact between those
of you who are willing to do what is necessary to be free people living
sustainably, and to withdraw our support from systems outside the compact.
The compact can be first between individuals, and then communities. It can
later include regions and nations. How will this be brought forth? Will it
be enough? I don't know, but it's all we can do. Certainly the Internet, for
as long as we can keep it, can get us started. But don't rely on it
entirely, for it is no longer ours to trust. You have the power to save your
freedoms and your natural world.
Truth and Love, Courage and Energy, and a good organizing plan for
cooperative action are your great powers. Don't look for leaders to do it
for you, unless you are standing before a mirror. I'm 97, soon 98, so saying
'good luck' is about all I have left. I have filled my life with adventures
and good causes. They have not been enough for the world, and they have not
even been enough for me.
But I shudder to think of how bare my life would have been had I not
answered the call to action that you must now be feeling somewhere in your
hearts, as you have it felt before.
Thank you all very much. And good luck.
- ► 2010 (104)
- ► 2009 (99)
- ► 2008 (352)
- Good Political Comics for today
- In spite of all the accomplishments of our Space P...
- The Flushing Remonstrance
- Atlantis STS-122 Status Report - 18:00 2007-12-27...
- Stolen from my brother......
- Grimmy the Security Dog
- Santa Has to watch the Parking Meter....
- Thee Environmentally responsible Santa.....
- Good and Evil at the Center of the Earth:
- Sometimes these things are just wierd.
- I am a Sci-Fi Nerd....
- White and Nerdy.....
- OH, this is priceless....
- Mary and Joseph today....
- Global Warming is Comming to you......
- MESSENGER Mission News - MESSENGER Zeros in on Mer...
- Why does Iran need nuclear power?
- A quote I have never heard before....
- Thomas Jefferson - The security of a Free Press.
- Playing in the snow.
- How do our friends "Down Under" celebrate Christma...
- More Galleria Wonderland
- What kind of a liberal am I?
- The George Bush Presidential Library.
- Loosk like the excreetment is going to hit the fan...
- Had to post this one to all our "Religious" friend...
- This one is for Cal.....
- Yes, its St. Louis now....
- This sucks...
- Atlantis STS-122 Status Update 17:00 EST, 2007-12-...
- Granny D's Speech at Waterburg College in Iowa, 20...
- Winter Drivers..
- What my job may become.....
- Some of my favorite political cartoons for today.
- Ford's Broken Promises
- The Poinsettia - the Christmas Star.
- Atlantis STS-122 Status report, 18:15 EST 2007-12-...
- St. Louis Weather Update 2007-12-11, 08:40
- St. Louis Ice Storm update 2007-12-09 22:00
- Freezing rain here
- Atlantis STS-122 Status update, 09:30 EST 2007-12-...
- Atlantis STS-122 Status update, 07:30 EST 2007-12-...
- Atlantis STS-122 Update 19:20 EDT, 2007-12-08 Sund...
- A dated Merry Christmas from your government
- Atlantis STS-122 Launch Update 22:52 2007-12-07
- My political musings for yesterday.
- Atlantis STS-122 STATUS REPORT: 11 21:45 EST, 200...
- My job. A little worried.
- Atlantis STS-122 Shuttle Launch updste 11:15 EST 2...
- Atlantis STS-122 Shuttle Launch updste 10:00 EST 2...
- Atlantis STS-122 Shuttle Launch updste 07:20 EST 2...
- One more reason I am glad I don't work the Day Shi...
- Atlantis STS-122 Status report - 10:45 EST 2007-12...
- CNG in EU Report on Alternative Fuels
- The real meaning of the season?
- Keith Olberman channels Tom Tomorrow
- Why the Hollywood Writers are striking.....
- Chief Seattle's words.
- Sage Advice
- ▼ December (59)