I applaud the young people across America who are valiantly attempting to take our country back from the multinational corporate elite that are corrupting the heart and soul of our country. Their acts of civil disobedience are part of a long-standing American tradition, harkening back to the colonial revolutionaries (terrorists by today’s definition). In the Declaration of Independence, it clearly states that when the government acts in ways that are destructive to its citizens’ inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then it is the citizens’ right to alter or abolish that government. As American citizens, we are duty-bound to protect our country from all enemies — foreign and domestic. We can no longer deny that our country has been hijacked by corporate “zombies” and special interest groups, and believe me, those “special interests” do not include the interests of you and me. Rather, as Russell Means clearly articulated, “We are the Indians of the 21st century.”

Mark Twain once mockingly stated, “No man’s life, liberty and justice are safe while the legislature is in session.” You only have to read some of the Draconian language of the Patriot Act to realize how right-on he was. The American people’s frustration and anger over the lies, abuses and all-pervasive corruption within our government and corporate corridors is understandable, justified and commendable. As for me, my Patriot Act will always be our precious Bill of Rights, a document that is being systematically dismantled in the name of “national security.” Yet Thomas Jefferson warned that any nation willing to exchange some of its liberties for more security was in danger of losing both. America must wake up and smell the cup of fascism being served to us on a daily basis. It was Sinclair Lewis who observed, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and a cross.” It’s been said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil in the world is for good men and women to sit by and do nothing. It is not the evildoers who will destroy the world; it will be done by those who stand idly by and watch them do it. As Martin Luther King Jr. realized during the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s, non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good, for the limits of tyrants are prescribed only by the endurance of those they oppress.

George Orwell pointed out that political language is purposely designed to make lies sound truthful; and murder, innocent and legal. The words of former CIA director William Casey hauntingly confirms this: “We’ll all know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American people believe is false.” Compare this to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Does invading Iraq on the pretext of their having weapons of mass destruction come to mind? How about a lone gunman being responsible for the assassination of JFK? How about the total and complete disintegration of the World Trade Center caused by an airplane flying into it?

Why is it that our government can spend billions of dollars on bailouts, bonuses and bombs but not for health care, infrastructure and jobs? Why do we seem to have unlimited money for war but not a cent for peace? We desperately need another revolution in America that focuses on human need, not corporate greed. A revolution that doesn’t treat corporations as people, but “We the People” as people. In his 1796 farewell address to the nation, President George Washington warned, “Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.” Let us remember the words of Margaret Meade, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Frank J. Malle lives in Ojai.