This Matters

I don’t usually write about politics. I have sporadically in the past, and received very poorly spelled hate-mail as a result. Not that that stopped me. If anything, the urge to piss off misguided spellers grew a little bit. But truthfully, i never feel like i know enough, and i’m easily taken in by a well written opinion piece. The one thing i am sure of is that i should basically never trust the objectivity of anyone, especially lately.

With that long caveat, this freaks me out: Lawyer Helped in a Terror Plot, Indictment Says. In fact all the not-so-subtle thinning of people’s civil liberties are really fucking scary. So now a person’s lawyer is going to be put on trial, maybe put in jail? Effectively jeopardizing everyone’s right to legal representation. Can this be anymore fucked up? I’m frankly pretty worried about the changes that have taken place since i left New York in July. I assumed things like the right to privacy, the right of journalists to free speech, the rights of the accused to due process, the things which make it easy for me to defend the US to the sometimes-haughty Europeans i come across are unassailable threads of what makes the US the US. What do we have if we don’t have these rights? What else does it mean to be free? What other definition is there?

And i know someone will point out those ridiculous 5 words that for some reason *only* get used by people on the right against people on the left, “Love it or leave it”. I’d like to say that back actually. Why isn’t Ashcroft being called unAmerican for this? It’s frankly the most unAmerican thing i’ve seen. Ever. If we can agree on anything concrete that defines America it must be the Constitution and The Bill Of Rights. And frankly he’s tearing them to shreds (unless of course he’s blowing the gun lobby). There are places where the government can eavesdrop on it’s own citizens, where trials are held in secret without lawyers and fair judges, and where newspapers won’t print opinions that disagree with that of the government. We call those places monarchies, or dictatorships, or oppressive regimes. We take care not to piss anyone off when we visit because we can’t be sure of being treated fairly. And we know that many, if not most, of the ordinary people who live in places like this want to be in our place, where we get to take all of these things for granted.

Frankly I don’t care about having 65 different brands of cereal to chose from, or being able to drive a gas guzzling Suburban 5 blocks to my sprawling house which i heat to 85 in the winter, and cool to 65 in summer. These things aren’t important. Living as a free individual, that’s what matters. Many times in the past few years, before burning skyscrapers, i had talks with my friends where we kind of lamented that we didn’t grow up in the sixties, when things mattered, when there were causes to fight for, when young people weren’t so jaded and cynical about everything. Well at the risk of sounding mad corny, it seems to me like right now things really matter. There are bad people in powerful positions doing very scary things and we still have the right to point it out, and try and stop it.

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