Tuesday, March 07, 2006

There’s A Canyon Between Us. Do We Build A Bridge Or Say “Adios” To Democracy All Together?

South Dakota has outlawed abortion, Missouri wants to make Christianity the state religion and the Bush administration is trying to revive the horrors brought on by the Sedition Act. I’d say we’re a country in trouble. Sure, the South Dakota law will likely be deemed unconstitutional and the Missouri bill is just a political stunt, but the fact that the fundamentalist right feels empowered enough to force these issues is a sign that we have taken a wrong turn down a dark and dangerous road. Have we reached the point where we need to banish our leaders and write off a few of our states as lost causes? We fought a civil war to keep the union together, were we wrong all those years ago? We certainly have little in common and apparently the documents that our countrymen died to protect aren’t worth all the trouble.

Our constitution was meant to be a living document, able to change with the changing times. The Civil War was about many things, but part of the mix was the emergence of two diverging ideas of how our country, as laid out in our founding documents, would evolve. Funny that the same is true today when we have the “strict constructionists” on one side, believing that white men have divine rights bestowed by their creator (who the hell they think created the rest of us is beyond me) and the progressives on the other side who want to keep the march toward freedom going, tearing down each and every barrier to equality that is put in front of us. Progress is what a progressive is all about (truth in advertising by golly), and if you’re not with us, you’re regressive.

But we are a whole country still and it would be great to find a way to work together. The first step is accepting the reality of where we are. Bush supporters are here, they’re deer (caught in the headlights), get used to it! Believe me, I’m trying, but in order for us to come to any semblance of a consensus, it will be necessary for them to shake themselves out of their stunned stupor and recognize that they’ve been lied to by this President and that their party has been taken over by the Christian Taliban. We can’t help you there, this one’s on you.

If there was any doubt that the religious right hit pay dirt with the confirmations of Justices Roberts and Alito, the gall of South Dakota and Missouri legislatures fueled by religious extremisms in passing a law banning all abortions and attempting to establish a state religion should put those doubts to rest. If traditional conservatives hope to have any credibility, they better disown this administration and cut the wingnuts off at the knees. If conservatives aren’t interested in taking giant leaps backwards, they better speak up now or suffer like the rest of us at the hands of the Christo-fascists that they are enabling. But even more distressing than what the fanatics are doing, is how hard it is to dig up any news at all about their efforts and successes.

The biggest threat to our democracy is the silencing of the media. It’s hard to believe that the Bush administration feels the need to silence what little dissent there is by attempting to criminalize unfavorable reporting, yet he is. The Sedition Act, which made it a crime to use disloyal language about the government, was repealed in 1921 but the Bush administration is using the Patriot Act, the secretive NSA and Alberto Gonzales’s henchmen at the DoJ to spy on, investigate and eventually prosecute reporters who publish articles about government wrongdoing using leaked information. Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue discusses in detail the lengths to which the Bush administration is going to silence reporters in his article, “Bush Declares War On Freedom Of The Press.” Who needs the Sedition Act when you think you’re King and the Congress and the Courts refuse to correct you?

But what is the responsibility of the press? Just because the press was singled out in the Constitution as having a freedom crucial to a working democracy, does that mean they are obligated to use it? There is no guaranteed freedom of pollution by corporations, no freedom of profit at the expense of workers, no freedom of retail giants to exercise their dominance wherever they choose. In fact there is no constitutional right explicitly given to any private industry other than the press. It seems that this fact should place a special burden on them, but with media consolidation a fait accompli, it’s simply not the case. They are a private business like any other and their main objective is making money, plain and simple. Informing the public of what our government is doing is only a small piece of the product they sell and if the truth conflicts with their profit margin, they have every right to exclude it, distort it or repackage it in any manner they see fit. It’s not pretty, but it’s true. The fact is, they make more money from Republican deregulation and tax giveaways than we could ever provide as consumers and because of this, their allegiance is not to us.

However painful, accepting the reality of the business of media is critical to our understanding of how the government now works, but a line is being crossed. There is a big difference between having to and being able to report the truth, even if it’s inconvenient for the Bush administration. Criminalizing reporting is a blatant violation of the first amendment, and even the big boys who’ve been happily towing the line and circling this administration on their short leashes are likely to get a little bent out of shape on this one. They should be able to see that their success may not forever be tied to the government and that they will want the option of following their own path when their interests diverge. Let’s hope that they do. If they refuse to stand up against this administrations attempt to silence them, there may be little hope left for the rest of us. Willful silence is one thing, but forced silence is quite another and the little guys will need the big boys in this fight. We at the bottom may have more to lose at this point, but hopefully those at the top have the foresight to recognize that that could change in an instant.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LGNS,

Kick back a enjoy a soothing metaphorical glass of a nice WA state wine, or
a real one if you prefer!

All this overreaching will elicit pushback

The women of SD are used to driving hundreds of miles to the one and
only abortion clinic in the state. After 6/30/06 they'll drive the same
distances into MT, ND, IA and MN. You have to assume that the women
of SD are serious from memories of those vistas of snow swept highways
in the movie 'Fargo'! Shortly after national news coverage of those
out of state treks the Supreme Court will get a sneak preview of the
implications of overturning Roe V Wade and they'll step back from the abyss.

The state attorney general of MO will 'show' the residents of the 'show me' state
the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment, and the 'incorporation' protection
as provided in the 14th Amendment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incorporation_(Bill_of_Rights),
and they too will step back!

I'm also certain that the Media will be more aggressively covering their attempted silencing
by an increasingly discredited Admin will diminishing credibility and power.

Newton would be proud that his 3rd law of motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,
applies no less to the political sphere!

As for who 'created the rest of us', you know that 5000 years ago your ancestral sister came from a rib bone
and me and my fellow tripods, along with Ann Coulter, inherited those aptly named lumps in our
throats!

~Dale

3:30 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale--Is this your way of telling me I'm losing my optimistic edge (again)? Some days the news is just too much too bad and my inner Sysiphus starts screaming about being tired.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Roberta Kelly said...

Dale, your post is hilarious and contemplative and brilliant ~ you got the three point hit ~ balance!

You remind us of what it takes to keep in the fight but as Mollie says, it gets very tiresome.

Everyone, check out the trailer "From Freedom to Facism."

http://www.freedomtofascism.com/

It'll both piss off and make happy, our created selves ~

The Ann Coulter "Adam's Apple" has always given me the hummmm, in wondering . . .

& it's my understanding that the first bones of man and woman were actually discovered in Africa, just within the past couple of years!

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LGNS,

Mostly it's my 59 years of age perspective on what this country has gone through that causes me to say....hey, it's not over yet!

Plus, today I had the pleasure to drive behind a vehicle with a rear window sticker that stated: 'Defend America....Defeat Bush!'

Remember, there were roughly 61 million of us who voted against this usurper. We're not going anywhere except back to the polls to first remove his supporters and then anyone who runs defending his 'legacy'!

'Inner Sysiphus', I'm almost certain, gets thirsty too.
Slake it with the same wine
you pour for your 'outer LG!

5:47 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale--Will do! I always appreciate your wisdom.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

Fuck Bush. Fuck Cheney. Fuck Gonzales. Fuck the FBI. Fuck the NSA. Fuck em all. And I hope you're right about the South Dickota Law ... rock on

9:17 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Rory--You are on fucking fire my friend. Have you reached the breaking point or are you just getting started? I'm betting on the latter. I hope I'm right too, but I'm preparing for the possibility that I'm overestimating the rationality of the courts.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Roberta Kelly said...

George Carlin to LGND~Mollie

"Fuckem"

And I agree. Just think, none of those moronic freaks can even begin to think or write like you, Mollie, so how can they actually defend themselves once they have to be on the same ground with the rest of us and people like you are who they must compete with, and they, with no creative genius!

"Fuckem"

6:36 AM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

fuckin' A ... just gettin' started ...

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Binkyboy said...

Where is the link for Bush trying to push forward an anti-sedition act?

If its as I expect, and just an over-reaching generalization on your part, can you please say so? I only say this because the danger of an anti-sedition act would be enormous. Unverified rumor on something so extreme can cause ramnifications that many of us arn't prepared for.

Thanks!

BB

7:58 AM  
Anonymous BinkyBoy said...

I suppose I should explain further why I feel that the Capitol Hill Blues link is insufficient. The recent attacks by Bush against reporters for reporting on leaks will be defeated, handily, in very short order. The press proved this when they fell in behind the Iraq Queen during her imprisonment for Contempt. If the press turns against this Administration like I expect, 2006 and 2008 will be large defeats for the President's party, the party will not stand for that and will throw the Bush Administration under the bus as quickly as possible.

What actually happened was a lame threat by AG Gonzo that will rebound and create an atmosphere of intolerance and excrutiating pain for those that challenge the press's place in society.

So, despite my fears of an anti-sedition act, I just don't believe this is it, and calling it so may be the equivalent to calling wolf.

8:16 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Binkyboy--I try not to be a flamethrower and I certainly don't want to cry wolf unnecessarily, even if there is a pack of them running wild in the White House. In my attempt to make a point, I may have been too literal and I thank you for drawing my attention to that. In the spirit of being reasonable and accountable, I have clarified my point, but I do feel this is more serious than just a stunt. Time will tell.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Blinkyboy:

Your points are well taken.
I realize it's easy to believe the absolute worst case scenario with this worst of all Administrations but, as I stated, overreaching generates its own remedy sooner or later.
And I don't want to do away with NSA or the CIA, I just want them under 'new management'.

On the other hand, I used to think that a 'critical mass' of incompetence, corruption and cronyism would elicit more outrage across Party lines than it seems to have. Hell, this 'critical mass' makes the one achieved under the U of Chg in WWII seem like childs play!

Oh, I believe the phrase is cry wolf. For a moment I thought you were refering to placing a call to Wolf Blitzer!

Dale H.

8:52 AM  
Blogger GraemeAnfinson said...

I am getting worried. I live in ND and we only have one clinic. Rest assured we will fight to not join the "coat hanger state"

11:06 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

If you don't believe the Bush Administration plans to go after dissenters fo sedition, check this out.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/02/148237

11:08 AM  
Anonymous diddythegeek said...

It really feels like this administration is akin to a bunch of rebellious teenagers pulling one outrageous stunt after another. First they set fire to the garage... then they get caught dealing drugs at school then they crash your car while driving it without permission. Each time it seems like they can't do anything worse... It's really time to emancipate these minors!

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Binkyboy said...

I can see your point, yellow-dog, and I can only encourage people to act with careful and well-thought out restraint in their postings. I'm just not going to panic until its time to panic, ok? The case you link to is troublesome, but may be more along the Keystone Cops sort of bungling from over-reaching security cops that has been going on recently. I still have some trust in the system, which is the only reason I still live in the US.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Found this at Democratic Underground. Is it possible that Pro-Life would have to take an 'Anti-DNA' stance?!

Hey men of South Dakota ... I think you overlooked something
Posted by BattyDem
Added to homepage Tue Mar 07th 2006, 05:51 PM ET

When a woman got pregnant before abortion was legal, there was no way for her to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who the father was. All a guy had to do was spread rumors about the girl, claim she was a slut, trash her reputation by getting a few buddies to say they slept with her or that they knew other guys who slept with her, etc. It was her word against yours and since she was a fallen woman, no one was going to believe her. She was forced to leave town for almost a year. You (or your son) simply walked away and never had to think about it again.

Remember all that sex you had in college? You never had to deal with any consequences, did you? You just assumed that you never got anyone pregnant because no one ever told you that you did. You don't believe that abortion rights were ever an issue in your life and you don't expect them to be an issue in your son's life either. You taught him to be "careful" - just like you always were.

I bet it never even occurred to you that your college girlfriend may have gotten an abortion without telling you.

Well, my friends ... you just eliminated choice from a woman's life, so she'll probably end up having a baby that was conceived while you were being "careful". But wait ... it gets better. There is now a little thing called DNA testing. The girl can PROVE the kid belongs to you (or your son).

If you're the one who did the deed, you'll have to pay child support and your wife will find out that you've been a naughty boy - which means you may end up having to pay alimony as well. If your son did the deed, he will also be forced to pay child support, but if he's only 14 and can't afford to do it, you'll be footing the bill! I bet you never thought his college fund would be spent on diapers and baby food! It looks like his Ivy League future just flew out the window, huh?

No more rumors ... no more "muddying the waters" to make people think the father could be one of a dozen guys ... no more walking away without a care in the world. Guys, you're going to pay for the next 18 years ... and if the girl wasn't quite legal yet, you'll be paying a different price!

I bet you never dreamed that controlling someone else's body was going to be so damn expensive, did you?

3:12 PM  
Anonymous diddythegeek said...

I can see your point, Binky about wanting to wait for a judicious moment before panicing, but how is the determination of when that moment is at hand made? How much is enough... aren't torture, illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, stolen elections and secretly datamining information on US citizens more than enough cause for alarm?

3:16 PM  
Anonymous diddythegeek said...

"Is it possible that Pro-Life would have to take an 'Anti-DNA' stance?!"


Of course they'll be anti DNA. It's just more junk science, like evolution and stemcell research.

3:21 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Thanks for posting that Dale! The lady makes a great point!

3:37 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

I think the time to panic has arrived. My governmentwants to prosecute a VA nurse for usig the word 'forceful' in a letter to the editor of her local paper. While it may have been overreaching by the VA staff at the hospital, haven't the most dangerous regimes been the ones where a culture of fear was cultivated by leaders which led to the citizens turning each other in.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Bulletin:

SD legislature, in emergency session, votes unanimously to mandate 24/7
availability AND dispensing of Morning After Pill in all licensed SD pharmacies.
Speaker said that it had something to do with appearance of blog RE DNA :)

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Here's another unanticipated consequence for states that insist on outlawing abortion: a dramatic increase in unwed teenage mothers and consequently exploding welfare rolls, because, sadly, most men are NOT going to pay support (which is the number one cause of women going on welfare) and the states are already overwhelmed with the child support cases they have now. And forget adoption: the dirty little secret is that most adoptive families want healthy, white newborns. There are some very special, very loving people who want to take in older kids and kids with physical or mental disabilities and I've represented them, or the kids; but they are sadly very much in the minority. I don't say any of this to suggest that these children would be "better off aborted," but only to point out that there are very real social costs. And I don't imagine a tenth of the "pro life" folks in states that outlaw abortion will stay actively involved in children's issues for five minutes after the governor signs their pet legislation into law.
What's even worse (at least from my personal perspective) is this: if Roe gets overturned, some states (in the Deep South and Midwest) will immediately outlaw abortion. Others, like New York, California, Massachusetts, will keep it legal with relatively few restrictions. Where does that suggest the BIG battle will come? Heavily populated Red States where choice is still favored by the (albeit slim) majority, but the Republican political leadership is HEAVILY influenced by the Dobson Legions. And that would be Texas, ground zero for the coming Abortion War.

8:36 PM  

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