In GIVE ME LIBERTY: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries Wolf investigates the roots of a growing national malaise that has bred “fake democracy” in the United States over the last three decades, a condition marked by equally fake patriotism and a modern notion that we Americans are “the Elect.”
This is direct heresy against the founders’ intent, Wolf says: Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and the rest “did not create liberty for America, but America for liberty, which they understood as part of universal law…. The founders had made it clear that we were not supposed to see ourselves as constituents, voters or recipients of the leadership of our representatives. We ordinary people were supposed to run things ourselves.”
So what has happened to America? The accelerating erosion of the founders’ ideal of liberty is manifest in a political system that excludes the very citizenry it was intended to protect. Wolf sets out to learn how an ordinary American can take a participatory role in government and/or exact change, and discovers it is not easy. She navigates a quagmire of state and federal government websites in an effort to learn how to run for office, encountering confusing language and sometimes contradictory information. Our First Amendment right to public assembly is now thwarted by the need to obtain permits for peaceful protests. The well-oiled bi-partisan political machine excludes outsiders with fresh ideas. Wolf comes face to face with “a great systemic war against us citizens. It is being waged through the propaganda of patriotism,” she asserts, “and through, unglamorously enough, bureaucracy. The erasure of civil education; a proliferation of voter restrictions; the expansion of permit demands for marches; the consolidation of media outlets; and the closing down of access and information about running for office. It is death by a thousand cuts.”
While Wolf documents some remarkable stories of ordinary citizens who have dared to engage the democratic system, often at personal risk, she is nonetheless nonplussed by the solid apathy among younger citizens, even the well-educated, and with GIVE ME LIBERTY she hopes to awaken their participation in taking back America. She incites concerned people of all ages to lead a new American Revolution, based on the truly radical precepts of men like Jefferson, Lincoln, and Patrick Henry, who boldly faced charges of sedition in their quest for liberty. To this end, the final section of this provocative book is a nuts-and-bolts “user‟s guide” that leads budding patriots step by step through the process of making a difference—from running for office, to using the media effectively, to organizing protests.
Despite the lip-service paid to the idea of liberty in the United States, America is no longer at freedom’s forefront, Wolf says. Americans “need to join our brothers and sisters in the tribe of liberty around the world, acting, all of us, like true Americans. When you take your place in the fight, you will lift up the torch Jefferson wishes to carry.” GIVE ME LIBERTY is an insightful, daring, and undeniably timely call to arms for reclaiming America.
Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries (Simon & Schuster Trade Paperbacks -
Publication Date: September 16, 2008 – ISBN-10: 1-4165-9056-0/ ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-9056-9 – Price: $13.95)
© Copyright 2013 Naomi Wolf | http://naomiwolf.org