An Open Letter To
All Americans - Comment
From Matt Ridgway <>
My Fellow Americans,
It is no longer an option that we, as those who hold the ultimate responsibility for our elected officials, continue to turn a blind eye to the serious events taking place both at home, and especially abroad. I boast no political, nor financial ambition. I am merely a hard-working family man who can no longer sit idly by and watch America become the International travesty it has become without at least attempting to define the problems as I see them.
The days of unbridled optimism and national pride are gone forever. We have, as a nation, sufficient evidence and cause to believe that we are no longer the masters of our own fate. We are continually chastised for our apathy, both in community action and more noticably at the election booths, where registration has reached an all-time low. I respectfully submit that this is not due to a lack of interest or even careful thought, but rather the inevitable response of a populace who has slowly become convinced that regardless of any election outcome that Washington will still continue unabated, completely oblivious and uncaring of the needs/concerns of the many.
Almost daily we read instances of the federal government and/or local law enforcement not overstepping their bounds, but leaping over them with glad abandon! It would have been unthinkable twenty years ago that an event like Ruby Ridge, or even worse Waco could have occured. It was enough that law enforcement's role in our lives was to protect and serve the public, not serve as revenue generating policy shills that treat every citizen as suspicious or every situation as a potential crime.
Last weekend, an article appeared in the Grand Rapids Press concerning a group of young boys who, while fishing, happened to find a box filled with cash. The article went on to state that the boys tried unsuccessfully to flag down police TWICE to report their find, finally managing to get the attention of a third officer, who promptly notified Federal officers who, you guessed it, promptly confiscated the moola. A local officer commented that the boys were 'much richer' for the experience of turning in the money than they supposedly ever WOULD have been had they kept it. Now I beg to differ, on several counts.
First, I find it unbelievable that a group of boys would be COMPLETELY IGNORED by two officers in their time of need! What if someone had fallen in the river, or was trapped or hurt? Second, why is it that the police automatically assume that the cash must be illegal somehow? At what point in this country did the use/possession of cash, no matter WHAT the amount or denomination become a criminal offense? Third, it is my understanding that when someone finds something of value and choose to involve the police that common sense policy was, and should be, that the police safe-keep the item(s) for a reasonable length of time and if no one claims it, it reverts to the finder. I tend to think that these boys would have been CONSIDERABLY richer had they KEPT the cash, watched the headlines, and had no one reported a missing box of cash use it for such things as oh, say COLLEGE?
The reason I addressed this issue is to demonstrate the ultimate problem with law enforcement in this country. The police no longer regard themselves as public servants, but see themselves as public wardens, regarding every citizen with a suspicious eye toward rooting out whatever criminal activity they are surely involved in and sticking them to the wall over it. Why? Simple. Cash. Law's in this country are shaped and modelled to give ever-broadening powers of search and confiscation to the police who ultimately benefit from such theivery in very real materialistic ways.
Anyone remember a few years back when the police switched from the old, Dragnet style Caprice's to the newer, bath tub looking models? Overnight every single police force from coast to coast sported these expensive monstrosities. What, a Ford isn't good enough for you? Now, the Police ride Jet Ski's and Cannondale Mountain Bikes in the summer, and swish around on snow mobiles in the winter! What's next, Tai Bo training for taking down perps? Where are the funds coming from to pay for these trendy toys? I think you know the answer.
Worse still are the professional 'politicians' and pac-fund fat cats pretensing to 'serve' the public in elected office. Take Michigan Governor John Engler for example. Last year the gullible citizens of Michigan once again re-elected this unabashed huckster to the governership. We must have mighty short memories. I, for one, am STILL incensed at the shell-game policy Engler pulled on us years ago at the start of his term. Michigan still enjoyed an incredibly low 4% sales tax when Engler got the brilliant idea that if we voted to allow a 2% increase that that would allow the state to remove the burden of public schools from the home owners and spread it more evenly around in the sales tax. Of course today, property taxes are as high as they ever were, except now we have to pay 2% more with every purchase. And STILL we are yearly assaulted with cries for increased millage! Tell me, whatever happened to the State Lottery? The only reason we allowed such a thing in the first place was that the profits were supposed to go directly to schools! Anyone remember that?
Sure they do. Just like they remember how Ronald Reagan's administration sold arms to Iraq, conducted arms for drugs deals across the globe, deals which Bildberger George Bush happily proliferated. What ever happened to the checks and balances system in this country? Simple, if you can't beat a path through them, do an end-run around them! How is it that Americans are willing to stand around while American servicemen are sent God knows where to do God knows what without even a rudimentary pass through the House or Congress?
Clinton, and those before him have realised some very important aspects of how the American Government works. First, if you want to send American troops to kill people, you don't declare a war. That's just plain stupid. Too many ways it can get sidetracked, not to mention the psychological trauma involved with the very idea. Instead of sending troops we now send 'peacekeepers'. Instead of a national mandate we now make public threats of military intervention (ala George Bush in Desert Storm) then FORCE Congress to support its Presidents policy for fear of looking bad internationally! SUPPORT THE TROOPS they say, conjuring up the national disgrace associated with Viet Nam Vets (God Bless You All!). OF COURSE we support the TROOPS, that goes without saying! The true motivations become lost in a sea of slogans, sentimentality and spin. When was the last time you saw an actual unadulterated report from a major world hot zone? We no longer get even a token attempt to report truth, but instead are fed government propaganda as fact by news organisations who are owned lock, stock and barrel by the people whose interests these wars protect!
Meanwhile, an admitted liar and very probably out-and-out RAPIST has since brought the wrath of the entire world down upon us because his solution to wanton killing is ...well..more killing. And for what?!? So Bill won't be remembered for his 'foibles' but as what, the new Thomas Jefferson? Let me tell you, Jefferson NEVER got in bed with the Chinese and aided and abetted probably the worst breach of national security in the history of this country for a little campaign cash! Jefferson never falicitated the sale of tainted blood from Arkansas prisons to hospitals in Canada as some have accused! And finally, Jefferson never would have directed the US to bomb another nation in a pathetic attempt to draw attention away from his rapidly-crumbling presidency!
We no longer enjoy the luxury of a clear conscience in International matters, if we ever did. With Osama Bin Laden, Clinton lit the fuse on the anti-American powder-keg worldwide. Our benevolent Democratic credo has been ripped away to display a nation as petty, criminal and self involved as any in earth's history! While we clench our teeth and nurse our sick stomachs over what is occurring in this country, our leaders are busy selling our technology, bartering our security, extorting our future and making enemies that will take tens of years to placate, if at all!And who will ultimately pay the price of these follies? You know the answer to that too.
There was once a time when the American flag was viewed with awe and respect. Despite revisionist history, brave Americans have always answered the call to action when freedom and democracy were threatened. Now, our flag is burned and soiled, covered with filth and treated like a floormat, and THIS from people with government art grants!
I declare that enough is enough. Our system is corrupt, our leaders money-grubbing, self-involved opportunists, our own President a national/international DISGRACE, our 'sheeple' treated like guinea pigs and cattle, our children betrayed by poison vaccinations and bad hot dog meat, our security threatened on all sides by mismanagement, intolerance and outright stupidity!
And not one voice being raised in the street.
Matthew Ridgway
Mr. Ridgway,
I have read your "Open Letter" and agree with you on many of your opinions, though there are a few points that I would like to address.
Ruby Ridge was a regrettable fiasco, and I am not too sure to this day of what to make of Waco, but as for law enforcement overstepping their bounds I respectfully disagree. I think that in this day and age, when a criminal has more rights than a victim, treating everyone as suspicious is the only way an officer can survive. You have to admit, the police don't shoot it out on a daily basis in the streets of Chicago anymore. They are much more accountable for any fore that they use, to the point that the guilty perps can beat a rap because they had to be subdued while resisting arrest!
As for the confiscation of the cash found by the "young boys" in Grand Rapids, if it was enough (as you say) to have paid for their college degrees, it ought to have been confiscated! A sum such as that is either already evidence in some case, or it sure will be soon, it isn't a question of the finding of the money being a criminal act. The boys suffered no charges, right? On top of that, confiscation by the police and thievery by the police are two very different things. It isn't like a high profile find such as this will end up in a policeman's pocket.
As for the "bathtubs" that the police drive now, they are still Caprices and LTDs as in the Dragnet days. As time goes by model designs change, if you claim that the police are driving different, more expensive models from other manufacturers, I think you are highly misinformed. I haven't seen any black and white Lincolns, Mercedes or BMWs. As for the "toys," I guess if you're after waterborne perps a jet-ski floats better than a Ford LTD! I would rather they buy a few jet-skis than a few dozen boats. I guess the bottom line is that you can insult the police all you want, but I know what number you will call tonight if you hear one of the real bad-guys breaking into your home!
In the realm of politics, I can't disagree with you on the corruption, but if you really think about it, nothing has changed. From day one politicians have been crooked. Sure, each scandal seems worse than the last, but they have all been philanderers from Thomas Jefferson to JFK. And as for the elected official lining his own pockets--the term "pork-barrel politics" has been around since the turn of the century (if I'm not mistaken) and for no small reason. I know that that doesn't make it okay, but it isn't some new plight. You say that you clench your teeth and nurse your sick stomach over what is occurring in this country. I think you should understand that our whole lifestyle was based on opportunists, and how much can we really complain when we put each and every elected official he is (and don't think that I like them all either)?
At least you need not worry about people of your personal background suffering genocide at the hands of a dictatorship that you have had NO say in electing. You need not worry about your children being born into an "untouchable" caste and having to clean human waste from the gutters of the streets because they are not worthy to walk beside what in reality are their equals. And most of all you need not worry that secret government shock troops can break into your home in the middle of the night to take you from your family for writing a letter of this nature.
While I maintain that even now, Mr. Ridgway, I agree with many of your opinions, if you really consider, maybe America isn't in quite as bad a state is you first concluded.
Donald T. McCoy Jr