Book: Cost of Freedom: The Anthology of Peace & Activism
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Freedom, they tell us, isn't free. The cost of freedom isn't cheap: it's shock and awe aggression, unquestioning, proud of its country right or wrong – it follows orders, from the president to the governor, to the local cop, while giving orders to the rest of the world – dominating, hard-bitten, hard-nosed, decisive ... it's blood, sweat, tears, guts and conquest, it's occupation of foreign soil for foreign oil; shrewd, brutal, relentless, merciless, and oh, so gloriously patriotic. Troop surges rolling over old folks and children is the cost of freedom; violence, bloodshed, death, destruction, genocide, torture, incarceration of all Evil-doers who'd defy our Decider and Commander-in-Chief...
That's the cost of freedom, they spin, as they count their prophets and leave the farmers, the grovers, the postmen, the teachers, the factory workers, the students, the carpenters, the poets, the bloggers, the mothers of soldiers, and all the nameless others to mourn and bury the dead. Greaer profits for oil companies and rising stock values are their determining factors for whether the nation is free or enslaved, pouring forth the sludge of nationalistic fervor through their corporate media broadcasts. America is the land of business – big business – of the trickle-down their of economics: when corporations are healthy, America is healthy; when corporations are safe to conduct business freely, America is safe and free; when corporations find obstacles to growth, the cost of freedom is to knock down the obstructions. It's a balanced equation for a balanced budget ... just give it some time, one day it will trickle down to you. But for now, the Cost of freedom is your duty, your son's duty, your daughter's, to make the world safe for corporate freedom, and you may have to freely give your children's lives, and your own blood, to satiate voracious corporate appetites.
Challenging this heinous conception of "patriotism," novelist Mike Palecek started asking many hard questions. He began by contacting peace groups, gathering stories from activists across the United States who had a different perspective on what the cost of freedom might be. He fgound accomplices to his quest in Whitney Trettien, an honors student, and Michael Annis, a poet and independent publisher, who became his co-editors. The three of them working together assembled contributions from those who knew America was losing her Constitution to liars, murderers and thieves. They gleaned letters, articles, sentencing statements, songs, poems and images into COST OF FREEDOM. From a grandmother's stay at Camp Casey to a young man's counter-inauguration protest (and subsequent run-in with the FBI), COST OF FREDOM documents the everyday revolutionary acts of over 100 courageous men, women and children. It is a definitive cross-section of the national grassroots resistance, holding the mirror to the faces of those who would challenge tyranny and oppression. These grassroots activists are common citizens with an uncommon resolve and mission in life for peace, truth and liberty, oftentimes at their personal expense ... Thousands of them are behind enemy lines – lines drawn to divide and conquer a nation by an unelected corporate government that sponsors torture, infanticide, extraordinary rendition, war crimes and crimes against the biosphgere and humanity.
Although the propaganda machines rub out the truth and grind down the citizens' understanding, those who comprise the defiant resistance are the true patriots – they do not commit unthinkable atrocities and justify them by saying they are just following orders – these patriots act according to their conscience, despite persecution. They hold signs in freezing weather in Bangor, Maine; they write intrepid letters to the editor in South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Clothed in black, they vigil silently in Syracuse and Wyoming, and pray for peace in Bagdad, Arizona. They march defiantly in Des Moines, Seattle, Batavia, Denver, Omaha, Portland, Minneapolis, D.C., exposing official White House hyper-rationale to be corporate propaganda spewed out by an aristocratic kleptocracy.
Following the lead of three nuns, who forfeited their own freedom in the cause of peace, they assemble at the 49 gates of hell in northern Colorado, demanding the dismantling of Minuteman III missiles, singing out thta the use of WMDs will never be in their names. They write signs, paint banners in kitchens and garages from San Diego to Boston. They read anti-war, anti-government poems on community radio stations and NPR. They publish tracts, newsletters and pamphlets out of garages and sheds. Into the wee hours of the night they feverishly and furiously blog the true story of the wars and crimes commenced to enrich corporations. They write their Senators and U.S., representatives and let them know that if they continue to support an illegal war, and an administration contemptuous of the Constitution, they will lose their jobs. They are clubbed at demonstrations, thrown into jails and military compounds and hid away in prisons by the State for living out the phrase "speak truth to power." They raised high the fist of defiance, in their cupped palms they shelter the flame of peace. As the newest war tanked up and drove roughshod over the largest antiwar movement in history, they stood against American hegemony, they threw themselves under the treads of imperialism run amok, they stood their ground, not for glory but for integrity, for the cause of uniting nations, not dividing them. They exercised their right to free speech, their duty as citizens of a planet gripped b y tyranny, as Congress coddled over the Patriot Act, and Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo became jaws for fascism, vomiting atrocities, while being buried under tons of media fluff.
COST OF FREEDOM not only records for posterity these light-bearers of the growing American peace movement during this crucial period in world history, but also gives sociological and psychological insight into the motives and spirit of individuals who ill challenge the lies of illegal governments. These individuals, the antithesis of "American Idols," are alternative thinkers who fuel the dream of America to include people of all races and origins. They've been chided, derided, humiliated, condescended to and ridiculed for demanding that their taxes be used to build smarter students instead of smarter bombs, that money slated for shock and awe go to universal health care and feeding the poor. They are the revolution, the courage of world peace, the cost of freedom. They are the dissenting voices of eternal vigilance; they are the fighters for justice and equality, they are the defenders of liberty, the mockers of autocracy-posing-as-democracy, the stewards of the Constitution, the bringers of the light of hope for a future where wars are outlawed and warmongers are brought to justice. They do it not for money, but to give their children's children's children a life on a habitable planet, without drowning in the bloodshed of their ancestors. If peace were to finally blossom on the earth, thank the protesters whoi had the fortitude and intellect to defy the mnster machines of war.
We honor those who have had the courage to light a candle in the fiercest of winds; for those who have done prison time, received blows from nightsticks, been court-martialed. Ostracized by a brain-dead status quo, these conscientious objectors will not allow truth and liberty to be eaten away by rats and worms. Through them, America's destiny remains sacred.
In a culture of mass deception, where citizens are stripped of their ability to engage in meaningful dialogue with their leadership, while being expected to lay down their children's lives for the great lie of war and power, this anthology is published to honor those who have not been offered a political voice in our nation, but who possess an acute awareness of being under assault by political manipulation and obfuscation, and who will not cave in to the machinery of governmental corruption that descends into fascist oppression. In the midst of Bush's and the neo-Con's folksy witching hour, these everyday heroes have the courage, the grasp of responsibility, the sense of urgency to speak the truth before it is too late, and to use their imaginations, not their guns, to bring about the end of tyrannical rule by myopic zealots.
Common people are continuing to join together as a single force to demand the truth, demand liberty, demand peace and demand that our Constitution be honored in spite of the deceitful cartel currently posing as American "leadership": that is the Cost of Freedom. A sense of camadarie pervades the organizations and individuals represented herein as they speak to the fact that unity is the essential elemnet in throwing off the yoke of any tyrannical government – COST OF FREEDOM's contributors have set aside their differences to voice cohesive viewponts in this common objective.
To stand, as one, against tyranny ... COST OF FREEDOM celebrate that.
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