Thursday, September 28, 2006

The historian George Santayana's great gift to the soundbite-inclined was "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Let's be clear on the concept here: by stripping people of their inalienable rights as human beings and explicitly ignoring world standards on torture, the Bush Administration has set the United States on an unprecedented course of tyranny. This is far more severe than the policies of containment and casual genocide of Native Americans or concentration camps for Japanese-Americans or rape and pillage in the Phillippines, because those were all of limited official sanction. The Republicans (along with a few cowardly, embarrassing Democrats undeserving of the name) have removed the checks and balances that once kept the executive branch from stripping the rights of freedom from anyone at any time for any cause.

Don't expect the US equivalent of secret police or brownshirts at your door today or tomorrow. That'll take another 8 years or so of growing public complacency, because tyranny works slowly, like boiling a frog alive degree by degree. But you need to believe that this trend leads inexorably to government-sanctioned thugs kicking in your door - or the door of someone you know - in the middle of the night. No one in history has used unchecked power wisely. No one.

Someone should send a plaque of congratulations to the tiny, ragtag, stone-age-mentality group of men who made this happen (and I'm not talking about the Presidential Cabinet or the DLC). Although the number of terrorists in the world wouldn't even add up to the number of daily commuters on the Chicago public transit system (and back in 2001, they wouldn't have even added up to the number of commuters in Cleveland), as it turns out, our values are so fragile that it only took a handful of them to shatter the most important of them.

In terms of Orwell's 1984, it's 1978 right now. What are you going to do about it?

3 comments:

Joe 6:13 PM, September 29, 2006  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe 6:16 PM, September 29, 2006  

you're preaching to the choir, but Amen, brother! What ever happened to Republicans who stood for limited government? Weren't they supposed to be the ones who didn't trust Washington & wanted limits on Federal power? How did we end up with a guy who thinks "L'etat c'est moi" is not just a good idea, but is what the Constitution says?

Hayden Childs 6:59 PM, September 29, 2006  

This process was so backhanded and sleazy that it amazes me that so few people have seen this moment as the proverbial tipping point. I looked at CNN last night to see what they had on it, and their article, titled something like "New bill permits trails for detainees" or some such bullshit, wasn't even on the front page. FOR SHAME!

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