Friday, March 16, 2012

Poem: From Under Gilded Stars

From under gilded stars, on silent hinge,
The bars, unseen, begin their secret close.
And those with warning? Silenced by the fringe,
With promise of black gold to soothe all woes.

From under gilded stars the maim'd lose ears,
The voice of reason silenced for its cost,
As 'Terror!' brands on cheeks spread baseless fears.
No habeas corpus? Our freedom lost!

So cherish views which challenge status quo,
For meteors and comets always show,
There is no guessing which path they might fly.
Ideas, only, solve the true night sky.

This is a continuation of this train of thought.

The Star Chamber was an English court, originally created to hear cases of those too powerful to receive justice from the regular English courts. It was so named, possibly, because the ceiling was a painted sky with gold stars. Over time it was perverted into a weapon of the king for silencing dissent. The proceedings were secret and punishment was arbitrary. Common forms of punishment were the cutting off of ears and the branding of cheeks of those deemed to be adversaries. The court was finally disbanded by the Habeas Corpus Act of 1640.

The abuses of the Star Chamber drove the motivation to enshrine a number of the basic rights found in the Canadian and U.S. constitutions. Many of those suffering this persecution fled to, and helped build, North America.

We are currently experiencing great prosperity due to our oil resources. I certainly agree with proper exploitation of this resource. What I do have a great deal of concern for is the systematic vilification of those who voice environmental or other concerns. The oil isn't going anywhere. The price of oil is trending upward. All evidence suggests this will continue as the resource dwindles, worldwide.  The only loss to assume from minor delays to production is a short term loss. The cost of environmental damage and failure to prepare for resource exhaustion is enormous. Worse, those who would pay those costs are our children and grandchildren.  We owe it to them to do it right.  We need as many ideas to circulate as we can possibly get so that we have the best chance of doing it right.

What scares me most, though, is the systematic effort to deny free speech, equal treatment under the law and the right to an evidence based and public hearing.  Environmental activists are being likened to terrorists, in some circles. Decisions are being made, behind closed doors, which revoke benefit previously given to contrary political voices. Finally, this is being done in a method which is secret and provides no body of evidence.

I'm not saying the intent of this degradation is evil. I do think, however, that it is a misguided attempt to improve benefit to Canadians. Unfortunately, it may end in those with truly evil intentions having precedent and framework to seriously damage our freedom and democracy. We have to be vigilant and always ensure we know why we have these rights and where these supremely important ideas came from.

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