Monday, March 16, 2009

Liberty or scrap metal?

The Author's blog about her novel asks in passing: Would Americans ever want security and economic stability more than democracy and freedom?

hell, yes! Look at what we did to ourselves in 2000. And far more in 2004. The US government ran for 5 or 6 years on nothing but screaming fear of our security. (Admittedly, even today few seem to give a goddamn about our economic stability, which is likely far more critical to her novel's view of the future ... this being defined as the willingness to educate themselves about what the gov't is doing with their money, and scream about it).

Even today, the right-wing of the Republican party is harping on keeping out the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.* Tear down the big copper bitch, if we can't bother to respect her. At the rate copper is going, it might even make a microscopic dent in the national debt. Or sell it, like bits of the Berlin Wall, and make a more significant dent in the debt. I doubt any of the unmentionables on Wall Street would give a damn.
(the Wikipedia entry on it is pretty interesting, especially the Aftermath of 9/11 section)

Far, far too many Americans ponied up to the Fear-Я-Us campaigns. It was like watching the Deep South in '64 facing the potential of actually having the government enforce equal rights for all those 'pesky niggers'. Protect our sacred rights to racial purity! Let them into our schools and they'll be impregnating our daughters and stealing our jobs! They'll destroy Our America! Or was that Mexicans? Or Arabs? Or the Irish?

Who's kidding who?

We happily embrace limitations of our freedoms without blinking! The government is still legally allowed to tap our phones, grossly impede commerce/travel with TSA, obscenely violate our legal rights of a speedy trial, or even reasonable suspicion. God forbid any of these ignorant voting idiots actually know what the phrase habeas corpus means.** Did anyone bother to read the PATRIOT Act? Even legislators afterwards admitted they didn't! Has anyone got the brass balls necessary to revoke it? No. Why? Because politicians are too afraid of scaring off the votes of the Fearful, who happily accept those limitations. Hence does fear make cowards of us all.

Even with a change of governmental figurehead, the government doesn't bother to revoke the acts made in initial panic. They pander to the fearful, rather than do anything to educate them into some sort of recognition of reality.

** The Habeas Corpus Acts "declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty." ~ A.V. Dicey, specifically it is a summons with the force of a court order addressed to the custodian (such as a prison official) demanding that a prisoner be brought before the court, together with proof of authority, allowing the court to then determine whether that custodian has lawful authority to hold that person

*The inscription on the base of the statue originally named Liberty Enlightening the World reads:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; [i.e., the Collosus of Rhodes]
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles.

From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.

"Give me your tired,

your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

admittedly, I'm sure the 'wretched refuse of your teeming shore wasn't intended to mean Manhattan's garbage scows

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Even with a change of governmental figurehead, the government doesn't bother to revoke the acts made in initial panic. They pander to the fearful, rather than do anything to educate them into some sort of recognition of reality."

What would you have Obama do first? Deal with the economy or the Patriot Act? At some point, the Patriot Act comes up for renewal again and then it could just be allowed to lapse. But the economy needs direct action first and foremost. Even though Obama famously said during the campaign that the Prez needs to be able to do more than one thing at a time. But there ARE many things to take care of that involve the economic mess.....