There once was a dream called America. In the beginning, it did not
reside on a particular patch of earth. It had no borders, no mountains,
no rivers, no forests. It had no seas, crops, roads, or cities. It
claimed no army, nor navy, nor air force. No nuclear weapons were
coiled in the soil, waiting for the order to spring.
The dream that was America was born in turbulent days surrounding
the final collapse of the Stuart monarchy in England. King James II
believed it within his purview to dismiss, ignore and override Parliament,
who were the representatives of the People. He held citizens in prison
without charging them or bringing them before a magistrate. He deigned
to have them tried before secret courts. Troops loyal to him entered
private homes as they pleased. Citizens who did not practice the religion
of the King knew fear.
When William of Orange marched on London in 1688, trailed by an army
once loyal to James and backed by the will of Parliament, the last
Stuart monarch was sent across the English Channel to live in disgrace
in France. It is believed that he threw the Great Seal of the Stuarts
into the frigid waters, a final symbolic drowning for a disgraceful
From that day forth, England was to be ruled by the people, through
their representatives in Parliament. Parliament was to rule the King,
and not the reverse. A Bill of Rights was drafted, in which was enshrined
the first true habeas corpus laws protecting the basic rights of citizens
against the infringements of government. Troops could no longer enter
private homes, citizens could not be held without charge or trial,
and religious freedom was at long last established.
This was the first germination of the dream that was America. The
idea, realized in the wake of a tyrant, demanded that the citizens
of a nation have the right to self-determination and self-rule. They
were tasked to decide for themselves who would represent them in government,
and had the power to rescind the invitation if a particular representative
did not perform as required. The days of an absolute monarchy, a single
ruler whose word was law, were at an end.
There was a responsibility inherent in this: if government spun out
of control, it was the people who had to set it right. In payment
for this responsibility, the people knew security in home and church,
in person and belief.
Over the next 300 years, the idea that was America carved out a space
on the planet that became a powerful nation. It found borders and
mountains, seas and rivers, crops and sky. It created an army, a navy,
and an air force. It buried nuclear dragons in the soil, and poured
out great roads across it. Magnificent cities rose into the clouds,
housing people rich and poor.
Underneath it all lay two sheets of tattered paper, upon which were
scrawled words straight from the heart of John Locke, who was there
when the Stuarts were sent on their way. The Constitution and the
Bill of Rights defined the dream that was America, and codified the
rights that each citizen could expect. Amendments were attached over
time, a remarkable thing, that extended these rights and freedoms
to places never before known in the history of humanity.
This was the dream: Americans had the right, the right! to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They had the right to be secure
from governmental searches of their homes. They were free to practice
whatever religion they chose, or to practice no religion at all. They
could say or write anything they wished, so long as those words did
not overtly threaten or unduly frighten any other citizen.
They could not be imprisoned without charge or trial, could not be
punished cruelly, and had the right to zealous representation by a
lawyer in whom could be placed absolute trust, thanks to the protection
endowed by privilege. With elastic restrictions, Americans even had
the right to arm themselves with incredibly powerful and deadly weapons.
To be sure, the dream had never been truly realized. The birth of
the dream came only after the death of another, when the people who
occupied the land first were driven and butchered. Citizens were denied
many of the basic rights outlined in those tattered documents due
to foul souls and wretched bigotry. Other barbarous crimes were committed
within and without the borders of the nation that housed the idea.
Chattel slavery was one. There were failures, and failures again.
This was the magic of the dream, the poetry and beauty of the idea:
that such wrongs could and would be righted, that the idea would march
ever onward to a greater perfection, that those illegitimately excluded
would be brought inside the fold, because according to the idea, that
was the only right thing to do. For 300 years it was happening, and
would continue to happen, unto the end of the world.
On September 11th, 2001, the dream that was America died in a ball
of fire, flesh and dust.
It was not murdered by the killers who brought such hideous carnage
to the land. A dream so powerful, an idea so pure and good, was too
strong to be shattered by outsiders. No, such a thing can only be
destroyed by those who live within it, by those who had for so long
pulled the warm blanket of liberty to their chins that they came to
take it for granted. The dream that was America died by the hand of
those who were most warmed by it.
The dream began to die long before September 11th, 2001. Cracks began
to appear every election day, as more and more Americans decided they
wanted no part of the responsibility that guaranteed the safety of
the rights and privileges. On the night of the 2000 election, one
hundred million citizens - fully one half of the voting populace -
did not participate in that most fundamental of obligations. The result,
after a contested election and the intervention of a politically biased
court, was a government that represented only the narrowest slice
of the nation.
This court had been installed years before by representatives who
won office through elections in which great swaths of the populace
did not participate. By abdicating responsibility, the citizens guaranteed
It is all finished now. Today in America, it is dangerous to speak
feely. Officers of the government may enter private homes without
notice and perform invasive searches of personal property. Officers
of the government may listen to private conversations between client
and attorney, thus tearing the shroud of privilege and the guarantee
of zealous representation. Individuals are being held without charge
or trial, their fates to be determined by secret courts.
It was said once that the Constitution is not a suicide pact, and
there is wisdom in this. The physical nation that is America endured
a catastrophic attack, and there must be a response. Today in America,
that response has been to murder the idea that is America. The idea
is more important, far more important, than the land or the borders
or the treasure, or even the people. Without the idea, the nation
is worthless. In the death of the idea lies complete and total victory
for those who attacked the country. They need never come here again,
for their job is well and truly done.
The war to combat the evils of September 11th is not a suicide pact,
either. The only hope, the last hope, for a nation based upon an idea
is the simple truth that no good thing ever truly dies. Like the phoenix,
it can rise in glory from the ashes of its own conflagration. Today,
the dream that was America has ceased to exist. Tomorrow, it may come
again. If it does, it will happen only because the citizens of the
country who are the keepers of the flame decide once more to place
upon their shoulders the yoke of responsibility that was for so long
scorned and ignored.
The citizens of that idea must take back the government that has
robbed them of their freedoms. They must snatch victory from the jaws
of defeat. They must send these newly incarnated Stuarts out into
disgrace. They must cast the Great Seal of a corrupted, failed ruler
into frigid waters, drowning it once and for all.
In the paralyzing aftermath of September 11th, it stands to reason
that good people stand unsure of what to do and how to act. The idea
that dissent equals treason has been well promulgated. The sense that
any criticism may be construed as an insult to those who died and
those who grieve is ever present. The time has come, however, to shoulder
these burdens and cast aside fear. So much damage has already been
done. If we do not act, and soon, there will be nothing of this country
worth fighting for beyond worthless stock options and tattered flags
strapped to car antennas.
On March 15th, 2003, the creators of this Manifesto will be hosting
a massive protest on the steps of the Capitol in Washington D.C. The
purpose of this gathering will be to highlight the deadly concerns
articulated in this document, but moreover, to motivate the citizens
of the United States of America to move towards an active participation
in the governance of this nation. We believe that this participation
will go a long way towards addressing and solving some of the terrible
problems we face, only a few of which have been captured here. We
seek, in the end, to ensure that the dream that was America shall
not perish from the earth at the hands of those who have so benefited
from it. No terrorist can destroy this nation. Only we the people
can do that. Only we the people can save it.
The time has come to act.
Author's Note: Portions of this document have been
culled from William Rivers Pitt's book, 'The Greatest Sedition is
Silence," slated for publication by Pluto Press in February 2003.
Any and all bibliographic notations regarding the statements within
this Manifesto may be located in the book upon publication.