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A Letter to the Emperor: Thanks, But No Thanks
February 27, 2004
By Marty Lolich

In regards to the empire you currently have under construction, could you please build something more beneficial for us ordinary subjects? Don't get me wrong - I consider myself very fortunate to have been born in the United States rather than some less privileged corner of this troubled globe. It's just that I don't see the advantage in pouring our blood and treasure into the military industrial complex and wars of "liberation" that win us more enemies than friends. I've been told this is for my own protection, but I'm willing to take the chance that peace can be achieved by choosing something other than war.

I'm sure you'll dismiss my comments and leave the grand strategy of geopolitics to the intellectual heirs of Leo Strauss, who postulated the mandate of the cognizant few to rule the ignorant masses by deception. I'll admit that compared with those who wield the powers of empire, I'm a mere peasant with little experience and a superficial knowledge of how the world really operates. But you know what? I refuse to be a good little peasant, and there are many more like me taking a good hard look at your new clothes - and we are appalled at your nakedness.

The outrage over the partial nudity that flashed across our television screens on Super Sunday was a momentary distraction from the obscenity of war, lies, and the massive debt being heaped on our children. We may not know the secrets of national security, but we know family values include economic security. You should have limited your imperial ambition to conquests overseas because when you loot our treasury and export our jobs, we get riled. You're supposed to provide us with bread and circus, but we've been getting mostly the latter.

You've been feeding us patriotism, religion, and above all, fear. A year ago you stampeded your subjects into stripping store shelves of duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal their homes against weapons of mass destruction that have proved as illusory as your compassionate conservatism. You perpetuate our terror by giving us a perpetual war on terror. The suicide hijackers who attacked our country were no illusion, but their most essential weapon - hate - is not likely to be conquered by military invasion.

I can imagine what your handlers would say - how hypocritical it is for me to complain, having led a comfortable, safe life. Have I not indulged in the consumer lifestyle, and don't I drive my car nearly every day? Gasoline doesn't grow on trees - it flows in black crude from beneath the sands of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. What would happen if those spigots were turned off, or if the natives were permitted to sell their oil in euros instead of petrodollars? Don't I realize the only thing keeping our economy afloat in a sea of budget and trade deficits is the primacy of our currency, maintained by military dominance?

Here is another question: how long can an empire stand on a foundation of debt and coercion? Your neoconservatives claim their Project for the New American Century is fostering "the single sustainable model of national success," but considering the rate at which this model is converting the planet's resources into pollution, do you really think we should make the rest of the world just like us? But that's not the plan anyway, is it? There can only be one empire, and an empire does not give - it takes. Perhaps that's why you're encountering so much resistance - not only abroad, but at home as well. Your imperial court is taking from the poor, giving to themselves, and transforming our constitutional republic into an empire that violates the American ideals we were brought up to believe. Even if our democracy has long been a thin fašade for the power behind the curtain, we cling to that fašade rather than acknowledge fealty to the power.

Therefore, millions of us peasants are embracing democracy and putting it to the test. We realize we're up against your corporate media, your black box voting machines, and legions of flag-waving bible-thumping loyal blind subjects. Fortunately for us, your own excessive avarice and mendacity have added fuel to a movement that is going to topple you from your Oval Office throne and replace you with someone else. Meet the new boss - same as the old boss? Maybe, just maybe, the movement you helped fuel will continue to blaze, and government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish after all. For your unintended assistance, you have my thanks. But for the empire you wanted to build for your own benefit - no thanks.

Sincerely, Your Very Disloyal Subject

P.S. All empires decline and fall, so don't expect me to follow you into the ash heap of history.

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