Guardians Against Tyranny

I don’t often interject myself into the political conversation of the day. I am rarely interested. I often feel I am too uniformed to have any valid opinion. And I simply do not enjoy political debates or discourse. Unfortunately, something has been said recently that I simply cannot ignore. I study dystopian literature. I have recently written and presented a paper titled “The Path to Dystopia”. Now this path was viewed within the landscape of literature. But when that path is seen in the landscape of reality, I simply cannot ignore it.

In the past weeks the Benghazi tragedy has again been highlighted in the news. This time because it is argued that our government failed to reveal certain details to the public, some might say they lied to the people. I do not know all the details, and I will not point accusatory fingers. But things occurred during that tragedy that we the people were not made aware of.

Another incident that has dominated the headlines is the IRS scandal. Now this is one that is a big deal. This is a scandal that even President Obama denounced. A scandal that, from all appearances, our president was not a part of nor aware of. However, the IRS, a major and important facet of the United States government, abused their power and targeted and penalized individuals whose politics they did not agree with.

Now, I am in no way trying to get into a Republican vs Democrat debate. But, very recently, President Obama gave a speech that should concern all Americans. It should concern us all regardless of who said it, had President Bush said it, I would still be concerned. If we as Americans heard it from the mouth of a leader in Asia or the Middle East, we all would be outraged, denouncing him as tyrannical. However, since it came from the mouth of an American President, one still beloved and respected by many, we close our ears and scream that it is just Republican hyperbole.

During the May 2013, Ohio State University commencement ceremony, President Obama gave the following speech:

OBAMA: Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny [is] always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems. We shouldn’t want to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. And as citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us, it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.(

Mr. President, how dare you to tell me to “reject these voices”. How dare you tell me to close my mind and my eyes to the possibilities of tyranny. How dare you tell me not to think for myself for that is tyranny in itself. If I am not on the lookout for tyranny, who will be? You? The IRS? The military? What if it is the watchers who are the tyrants?  Mr. President, tyranny exists. Tyranny exists in a most frightening and malignant way. If it did not, we never would have entered the Middle East as protectors and liberators (and we would not still be there). If it did not, our forefathers would not have fought and died for freedom and for America. How dare you tell me that tyranny does not exist in our country as you denounce the tyranny of the IRS. How dare you!

You are correct when you say that we have never put all of our faith in the government. You are also correct when you say that not all of our problems are the fault of the government. You tell us that we as Americans must be involved in the process of self-government. Part of being involved is to understand what tyranny is and be on the look out for it. Don’t tell me to put my efforts into something only to denounce those efforts when they do not align with yours.

Our forefathers created this nation on the notion that it would be governed by the people. We as American citizens have an obligation to be on the look out for tyranny. If I close my eyes to the possibility of tyranny then I have forsworn my duty as an American citizen. For it is our right, nay our duty, as American citizens to open our eyes to the possibility of tyranny even if that means looking for it around every corner. It is the duty of every American citizen, Democrat and Republican. For if we are not there to stop it in its tracks, then it will spread like a deadly virus, destroying and devouring every freedom in its path. How dare you tell me not to be aware of the possibility of tyranny. How dare you tell me that our government is above the possibilities of tyranny. The citizens of American ARE the guardians against tyranny. How dare you try to deny us that right!

The words in the above speech are some of the most dangerous words ever to be spoken. It is with words like these that some of the greatest authors of the past and present have used to show how a democratic, free society could descend so quickly into a totalitarian, dystopian regime. Dystopian literature is not written just for entertainment; it is written as a warning; it is written so that we will constantly be on the lookout for tyranny. It is words like these that our forefathers warned us against and fought against.

To close, I am NOT calling President Obama a tyrant. I am NOT saying that our government is tyrannical. But we should all be very wary of ANYONE (Democrat, Republican, preacher, teacher) who dares to tell us to “reject those voices”, those who tell us to close our eyes and our minds to the possibility of tyranny, and those who try to keep us from thinking for ourselves. Because the moment we close our eyes, the moment we stop thinking for ourselves, the moment we fall asleep at our post as guardians, that is the moment that tyranny will sneak in and rule supreme.


If you happen to agree with my thoughts above then I invite you to share this post or write one of your own. The only way to fight tyranny is to be a citizenry who is able to think as individuals and are well informed. Sadly, I fear we are woefully lacking on both accounts at the moment.


2 thoughts on “Guardians Against Tyranny

  1. You make a very good point. I would have phrased it a bit differently though.

    By telling somebody to “reject” something, one basically says, “ignore it, trust me, it’s bunk,” or is just telling you what to do and expecting you to do it.

    When the Commander in Chief says these things about tyranny, he’s saying, “don’t worry, I’m not a tyrant. Just ignore those folks who are asking all those questions. Trust me.”

    Um… does it make SENSE to trust the government about whether or not it is/can be/will be/wants to be tyrannical??? If it/they did, would they say, “Hey, don’t worry, I’m going to be a benevolent dictator?” I don’t think so, for some reason.

    This isn’t to say that he is or would be wrong, but that he’s asking people to not think for themselves… and to do something that doesn’t make much sense.

    Even police departments have internal investigation units. Every department in our government has an Inspector General’s office. In setting up the government to have independent “police” for itself, we are recognizing the fact that people do unscrupulous things – that not everyone can be trusted and somebody needs to keep watch. So, why then, does this not apply suddenly. Why should we avert our eyes and “trust” anyone without looking & thinking for ourselves?

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