Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Boston Legal Rips Bush Administration

Did anyone watch Boston Legal last night? I’m not a huge fan, but I catch it now and again, and it’s good for a break from GMAT math. Well, I flipped on to it last night just as lawyer Alan Shore (James Spader) was about to go into his closing argument for the trial of a woman named Melissa Hughes, who decided not to pay her taxes because she was upset about our government’s actions over the past few years. Instead, she filled out her tax return and attached a post-it saying “stick-it”.

OK, it doesn’t sound realistic to me, at all. But, what followed was a great speech by Spader. It was so good I had to TiVo it and then type it up. It really encapsulates the Bush administration, and while I don’t agree on all points, I agree on many of them. Plus, the Adelaide Stevenson poem sent shivers up my spine, it fits so well with what we face today.

I wish I knew how to transfer the video over, but alas, all I can provide is the text. But check it out: it’s obvious that in the few months since I’ve seen an episode they must have picked up one hell of a writer!

When the Weapons of Mass Destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up, but they didn’t.

Then when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced, and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to regimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so called terrorist suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly we would never stand for that. We did.

And now it’s been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive illegal domestic surveillance on its own citizens, you and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people had had enough. Evidently we haven’t.

In fact if the people have spoken the message is “we’re ok with it all”. Torture, warrant less search and seizure, illegal wiretapping, prison without a fair trial, or any trial, war on false pretenses, we as a citizenry are apparently not offended. There are no demonstrations on college campuses, in fact there is no clear indication that young people even notice.

Well, Melissa Hughes noticed. Now, you might say, instead of withholding her taxes she should have protested the old fashioned way, made a placard and demonstrated at a presidential or vice-presidential appearance, but we’ve lost the right to that as well. The secret service can now declare free-speech zones, to contain, control, and in effect criminalize protest. Stop for a second, and try to fathom that! At a presidential rally, parade, or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt you can be there, if you’re wearing something or holding something in protest, you can be removed. This, in the United States of America! This, in the United States of America! Is Melissa Hughes the only one who’s embarrassed?

… Long speeches make me so tired sometimes. Actually I’m sick and tired. And what I’m most sick and tired of is how every time somebody disagrees with how the government is running things they are labeled un-American [opposing council: “evidently it’s speech time”] And speech, in this country, is free, you hack. Free for you, free for me, free for Melissa Hughes to stand up to her government and say “stick it”.

[Opposing council: “I object”] I object to government using their constitutional power to squash the freedoms of its citizenry. And God forbid anybody challenges, their labeled a heretic. Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American. … Last night, I went to bed with a book, not as much fun as a 29 year old, but the book contained a poem by Adelaide Stevenson. The year was 1952. He said: “The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live. And fear breads repression. Too often sinister threats, to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-communism.” Today, it’s anti-terrorism. He also said: “it’s far easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.”

I know we are all afraid. But the bill of rights, we have to live up to that, we simply must. That’s all Melissa Hughes was trying to say.

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Posted by Scottage at 6:11 PM / | |