Democracy Under Threat
According to The Merriam Webster dictionary, Democracy is defined as a government by the people, exercised by them… or through a system of representation involving free elections. The word democracy comes from the Greek words "demos", meaning people, and "kratos" meaning power; so democracy can be thought of as "power of the people": a way of governing which depends on the will of the people.
We as NESEA members and building professionals work daily to project our clients and our own practices, through accepted codes and regulations which over time become codified into law by our elected representatives. This democratic process carries with it a mantle of accountability and fairness as our codes are periodically adjusted to address developments in building science, green design, and the urgent concerns of climate change and resilient design we NESEA members have championed over the last several decades. The recent encouraging success with the Energy and Climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act and MA Clean Energy & Climate Bill have thankfully given us some renewed hope, in spite of major setbacks threatening our central democratic values, and a growing fear the country is on a path towards a new civil war.
In his July 24 -22 interview with Meet the Press, Al Gore openly admitted that “our democracy is broken, and in order to solve the climate crisis, we are going to have to pay more attention to our democracy crisis.” He reminded the audience that "the worsening effects of climate change experienced across the globe this last summer are due to get much, much worse, if we do nothing to alter our current trajectory. The window for action to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees celsius, which most researchers agree will avoid the most devastating effects of climate change, is still open – but closing fast.”
Conversely Gore pointed out, if we achieve true Net Zero status, temperatures and carbon levels would stop going up within a lagtime of 3 to 5 years, almost like flipping a switch. In addition, staying at true Net Zero, over half of the human-caused emissions would fall out of the atmosphere in as little as 25 to 30 years. But this transition is far from certain, and the former Vice President ended the interview suggesting that sustained grass root level action is now required to instruct those in positions of leadership to do the right thing to help sustain our democracy, and our planet.
In a January 27 2022 Ted Talk presentation, former Gov. Deval Patrick outlined his concerns for how Democracy is being torn down by very worrisome trends, including restrictions to voting access, legislative debate, and judicial review. But what is even worse in his mind is the retreat from the very purposes of democracy; “the old fashioned notion of government of, by, and for the people, liberty and justice for all." He notes that "American Democracy, the so called model of the form, is up for grabs”
Patrick asks the question, “When did we learn to shout our anger and whisper our kindness”, countering rather that its time to start shouting kindness, justice and accountability, the purpose of American democracy. In summarizing, he cites examples of a resurgence in democratic values emerging across our political and cultural landscapes. These include specific actions to restore a woman right to choose, a community’s right to safe schools, justice in racial and gender equity and local engagement around climate action. He encourages us to rise above the knee-jerk cynicism we can all feel in this trying times, by embracing a renewed understanding of what patriotism is and has been in our American experiment as our 250th birthday draws near.
In his Jan 6 2022 article in The Nation, Journalist Mark Hertsgaard (author of HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth) spells out how Defusing the Global Climate Emergency Depends on Defusing the Democracy Emergency. He writes:
The democracy emergency is closely linked to the climate crisis. Each is grounded in a big lie—that climate science is a hoax, that Trump won in 2020—pushed by the same right-wing politicians and propaganda “news” outlets and embraced with cult-like devotion by Trump’s followers. Left untreated, each threatens disaster. If Trump’s forces do change enough electoral rules and personnel to guarantee victory in 2022 and beyond, there is zero chance the US government will take the strong climate action needed to avert global catastrophe.
Last month, on the news of Liz Cheney’s Wyoming GOP primary loss, White House chief of staff Ron Klain noted that “the American people are going to have to fight for their democracy.” “Congresswoman Cheney and I disagree I think on every single issue in American politics. But I respect enormously her commitment to democracy. I respect enormously that she took an oath of office to the Constitution and stood behind that oath, instead of her commitment to one man.”
Big Lies linking Climate Change, Fossil Fuels and War
Nearing the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 on Sepetemnber 7th 2021, PBS Frontline released their documentary film, America after 9/11, that traced the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan across multiple presidencies, and how the U.S.’s standing in the world has been impacted. Drawing on 35 interviews and two decades of PBS’s coverage of 9/11 and its aftermath, the movie draws a direct line between the events of 9/11 to the storming of the US Capitol on Jan 6th, 2021. The film begins with 400+ members of Congress singing America the Beautiful together on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, united as one team on the steps of the Capitol. We then fast forward 20 years to those same steps with those congressmen replaced by a mob of thousands, threatening the central thesis of American Democracy itself, the peaceful transition of power. At the core of this mob are former disheartened military, fully angered that the 20 years of war so quickly initiated after 9/11, in which they actively participated, was all for naught.
Ben Rhodes, former top national security adviser to Obama interviewed in the movie, noted the following:
The Jan 6 insurrection was the logical endpoint of the 9/11 era. When you have people who can’t trust institutions anymore, who are angry that wars they were promised great victories in didn’t turn out so well, they start to look for people to blame. Questions of who are we and what is democracy were answered too quickly and simply on 911 that we were the good guys." The narrators voice takes over saying, 20 years later on January 6, we found out we were the enemy ourselves, and that the biggest threat to National Security was now internal.
American leadership failures helped lead the erosion of truth, trust and values, and solidarity broken as the country would develop a split unknown since the Civil War with the ensuing administrations of Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden. The same day the documentary aired last Sept. 7, 2021, I posted my last NESEA blog Unmasking Lies behind Twenty Years of War, citing Cynthia Miller-Idriss and her piece entitled, From 9/11 to 1/6: The War on Terror supercharged the Far Right. She explains how “the shock of 9/11 was so overblown that it blinded policymakers, security officials, and the broader public to the faster growth of what became, in the United States especially, a much larger threat from far-right extremism.” The US led War on Terror and single minded focus on the Islamic Threat after 9/11, directly led to the unfettered growth of those groups that stormed the capital on January 6, 2021.
In that piece, I also cited commentator Rachel Maddow’s book Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth. She outlines the rationale behind how the oil and gas industry became “ the most consequential, the most lucrative, the most powerful, and the least-well-governed major industry in the history of mankind.” She also underscored how the US and Russia were warped by a fossil fuel industry, and how the industry became the “key ingredient in the global chaos and democratic downturn we’re now living through” and left alone, could “fatally injure” the whole planet.”
Forbidden Truth, published way back in 2002 by Jean-Charles Brisard & Guillaume Dasquie, supports Maddow’s thesis with its early reporting on how the Clinton & Bush administrations attempted to stabilize Afghanistan so that US energy companies could build a pipeline. In particular, it details the secret hazardous diplomacy between the Bush administration & the Taliban from February to August 2001, still not fully told after all these years in the US media.
The ongoing relevance of September 11
As we prepare to observe the 21st anniversary of 9/11 this coming week amidst a heightened sense of our threatened democracy, more deep revelations on the events surrounding that fateful day continue to emerge. On Sept.1 this last week, 9/11 Families United met with New York Mayor Eric Adams and shared what they know of Saudi complicity in the events that took their loved ones. Much of the details of Saudi Arabia's role was made public this last year, resulting from President Biden's Executive Order last September to declassify FBI investigative documents from its many year investigation into Saudi Arabia's role, which ensued after the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission.
Also this coming Friday Sept.9, Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth (AE911Truth) will present a free online symposium, entitled “Forbidden Truth: 9/11 Science at 21 Years,” that will outline the extensive scientific inquiry into the destruction of all three World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001. The three part program will explore (1) why 911 Matters More than Ever, (2) outline ongoing 9/11 research underway at many levels, and (3), explore how deception and denial can be overcome as more light is shed on this dark 20 year chapter of our history.
The main contention of AE911Truth, backed by extensive scientific engineering evidence, centers around the near free-fall acceleration of both the Twin Towers and Building 7. The Official NIST Theory has been fully and categorically debunked by Key Evidence of Controlled Demolition well outlined in Beyond Misinformation, the 2015, 50 page AE911Truth guide. A four year computer modeling study by the University of Alaska Fairbanks took this a step further, proving that the “the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11 was not caused by fire, but by the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”
A University of Georgia study estimated that about two billion people either watched the attacks in real time that day, or via one of many media outlets as chaos, trauma and shock filled minds and hearts almost instantaneously across the planet. Recent studies closely researching 70 hours of that news coverage by a AE911Truth team, determined that the “explosion hypothesis” was by far the dominant hypothesis among reporters on the ground.
A 2nd part of this study due out shortly, further examines how the official narrative supplanted by reporting became minted into our collective psyche in those early vulnerable moments. One chilling example cited is Fox News anchor Jon Scott's mention of Osama Bin Ladin’s name within 45 seconds of the 2nd plane hitting the 2nd tower and then repeated hundreds of times in the ensuing 70 hours of reporting, as the entire world was given an instant villain in that suspended state of shock and fear.
A Return to Fundamental Democractic Principles
While polls have shown that up to 55% of Americans believe the government is concealing information behind the true story of 9/11, it continues to be a shunned topic to openly discuss. It is becoming increasingly clear that a deeper state of denial and amnesia has now gripped the Republican Party, as 61% describe January 6 as a legitimate protest, while over 60% of Americans believe the January 6 Committee has been fair and impartial. Over 2/3rds of this same political party believe Climate Change is not an emergency, while 87% of Americans believe climate change poses a real risk, and 73% believe the government should do more.
As building professionals, we carry an innate responsibility to step up when larger democratic values are being threatened in our society. Its part of our commitment to a just and safe world, as well as a commitment to safeguard all that is good and special with the founding principles of an America that Patrick, Gore, and Rhodes now see threatened. As we hold those accountable who persist with the big lies that the 2020 election was stolen, or the January 6 Insurrection was legitimate protest, it is time we fully explore how 9/11 unfolded, and the role that event continues to play in holding our democracy hostage.
Biden calling out the Maga Republicans is a good first step. It is time for Americans to identify and push back on all of the false prophets like Alex Jones now forced to admit some of the harm he has sewed. We also need to stay mindful that this democracy, born almost 250 years ago now, first emerged from a justified conspiracy itself, secret plans that were unlawful in their time, fighting back against the great injustice of the British throne. Back on September 9th, 1774, Delegates from 19 Suffolk County towns met in my home town of Milton MA. to unanimously pass “The Suffolk Resolves” a document carried by Paul Revere to Philadelphia and submitted to the First Continental Congress. It revolved around the central pillar of “securing to ourselves and to Posterity our invaluable democratic rights and privileges .... by extirpating the Idea of Tyrannizing, so fondly fostered in the Bosom of those in Power.”
For further information on the work being done by The Lawyers Committee on 9/11 Inquiry, the Firefighters for 911 Truth, and other leading researchers in the 9/11 Truth movement, this Sept.10, 2022 Interdisciplinary Symposium outlined a number of developments underway to help expose the truth and address the deep wounds of 9/11.
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