Edits on 04/02: crossed out the things that aren’t true, but I thought were because I’m a gullible jackanapes.
Being socially conscious makes me very tired. Extremely tired.
For example. A few weeks ago the Smithsonian began construction on the Museum of African American History and Culture. Yay. But, what they didn’t communicate to anyone was that they were going to shut off all the sidewalks around the block — including the spot where for decades (literally, as in multiples of 10 years) there was a slug line*. So suddenly dozens of people were standing each night on the curb waiting for rides, a mere slip of the foot away from getting flattened by a bus. Everyone agreed that the established location needed to move, but not a single person started doing anything about it. So I stepped up.
As soon as I got the ball rolling, the cretins crawled out of the woodwork. Some thought the five business days to get everyone used to the idea was too long. They started whining about it. Others refused to move. When all was said and done the line finally moved to a safer spot, but I was angry or frustrated with about fifty percent of the people I had previously been blase about.
I was tired. I was glad I wasn’t in politics, and my dim view of humanity as a whole was reaffirmed.
I don’t LIKE having to help fix things. That’s why I don’t like to be involved.
That’s why I was relieved to stumble on to Popehat. They could be angry for me! I’m certain I’ll find quite a bit I don’t agree with them about in the future. But so far, they’ve been angry for plenty of good reasons and said things better than I generally manage to do. Naturally they would most likely be disgusted with my slothful attitude toward activism, but eh, thems the breaks.
Anyway, today I found the hole in my justification. No, not that hole, the other one. NO, the less obvious one.
It’s not enough to be stupid, criminal, or a complete waste of space to get me riled up enough to try and muster any support for something. You have to also be trying to undo the Constitution.
In case you can’t be bothered to follow the link, or you did, saw that it was more than two paragraphs, and thought “tl;dr” (in which case you probably haven’t gotten this far either), the blog post linked above discusses Senator Joe Lieberman’s latest attempt to subvert the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. To wit, he wants to offer a bill that makes web site owners’ culpable for the content of comments left by readers. It’s not the first time, and likely won’t be the last unless his constituents get a brain cell and don’t re-elect him. The man is not a friend to civil liberties. Guys, this is stupid bad. Almost Protect IP Act stupid bad. Which is why I wonder. Is the man evil? Or just stupid?
One of the fundamental principles I try to apply to all my political discourse is that the other side of an argument is not crazy, stupid, or evil**. Because it is possible to disagree with out one side being one of those. Generally, in modern political discussion, both sides at least one, usually two or more.
But Lieberman… seriously? You want to remove the ability to make anonymous comments on the Internet… to stop the terrorists? I can’t even begin to think of how that logic goes. Or why on earth you think that principle will be remotely confined to anti-terrorism enforcement. So, are you of the opinion that tyranny is a beneficial way to run a republic? Because if you do, the only possible conclusions are that you’re either evil or stupid.
Look, let me set politicians straight on this. Al Qaeda and Bin Ladin made me very angry for several years. But they never struck terror into my heart or mind. I stopped being so angry at them when “if x doesn’t happen than the terrorists win” became an argument that people actually used and “when you’re trying to get things done…” became the justification for the federal government to do whatever the heck they want. At that point, I got angry with the people arguing for our own government to enact oppressive policies.
You know what the terrorists are after? They’re not trying to escape — many of them are suicide bombers. They’re not trying to gain control of our government. They’re trying to make it so our government isn’t free anymore. They’re trying to make it so that we have our own backward thinking mechanisms that keep us from being allowed to travel, wear what we want, and say what we want. Because if that freedom exists in our country, it can “infect” their country.
So what makes the terrorists win? When our own frigging government tells us that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are no more important than toilet paper and that freedom of speech is detrimental to our safety.
You know what? Freedom of speech is probably dangerous — it means we don’t have to agree. And yes, it makes it harder to get things done. That’s what the people who wrote the Constitution intended. It’s supposed to be hard to get things through so you can’t ram a fist full of liberty-stripping bills through Congress without any objection. People, we want it to be difficult for the government to change easily. Maybe a few guilty get away, but it means that thousands of the innocent don’t pointlessly suffer.
So, to finally get to my point. U.S. citizens, it’s time to exercise a few of your civil liberties while you still have them. It’s time once again to write your Senators. Don’t worry about your Representatives, yet. This is a Senate bill, or will be. Lieberman’s chairman of the Homeland Security committee so that should help you sleep better at night. Or not. But write your Senators. You can find their pages by going to the Senate web site and pulling up your state. Tell them what you think of censorship and the destruction of the best communication tool the world has seen so far (I’m talking about the Internet).
Obvious exceptions are people like Michael Moore and pretty much anyone on Fox’s payroll that has a show with their name in the title. — go back