Saturday, March 18, 2006

James Spader is My Hero

Did you happen to catch a recent episode of the ABC series Boston Public? Yeah, me neither. Truth be told, I never have seen the show. From what I gather, Spader plays a rather unsympathetic character on the show, a smarmy lawyer with a heart of less than gold. Also? Shatner is on this show, and he’s always gold. I’m amazed I don’t watch, come to think of it.

The clip is here.

I haven’t even seen the entire episode mentioned above, only this clip. Spader’s character is defending a woman who is avoiding paying taxes in protest. It’s perfectly setup, having the prosecutor rant to the jury about how her form of dissent is unpatriotic, and how they, the jury, have little choice but to convict. Spader’s address to the jury is nothing short of astonishing, in the fact that it was broadcast on commercial television. It hits on all the relevant points of how dissent in this country is quickly labeled as unpatriotic, when the reverse is true. He dares to question the jury (and in reality, all of us) where our outrage is while all of these decidedly un-American things have occurred under the guise of a War on Terror. Things like a war based on misinformation, state sanctioned torture, warrantless wiretaps, etc.

I can only imagine that ABC has received a backlash form the traditional media lapdogs (Hannity, Limbaugh, etc.), ironically, calling them unpatriotic traitors. Yes, yes we get it: Hollywood is full of left wing liberal nutjobs who hate America and love muslims/commies. Hopefully, they will receive an equal number of comments applauding the bravery of airing this. Contact them here and tell them what you think.

We live in dangerous times. The climate of fear that has been placed upon us was not done so by accident. Having a population living in constant fear of whatever bogeyman we can think of (in this case, Muslim extremists) allows a government to get away with things far above and beyond rational democratic actions. The populace, when kept uneducated about such things, and in a constant state of anxiety, is far more likely to accept Police state type security measures, all under the guise of “protection”. Playing upon those fears is manipulative and more in line with the governments we claim to despise. Think that color coded terror alert system will ever sink below yellow? Yeah, me neither. Disagree with the current administration? You must hate America! Want to speak out, as is your right? Move over to that “Free Speech Zone” three blocks away. (Funny, I thought all American soil was a “Free Speech Zone”.)

Thankfully, it seems like we Americans might finally be waking up and smelling the coffee. Dubya’s approval ratings are the lowest they’ve ever been, and continue to sink each time the polls are taken. Even members of his own party are openly questioning the policies they helped put into place, though a lot of that could be due to election year posturing, as nothing is worse that to have the stench of an unpopular president on you while campaigning. Soldiers are openly questioning what the hell they are trying to accomplish in Iraq, and why they have to do so with inadequate equipment. Here’s a hint: maybe the goal isn’t to “win”, but simply to remain there and keep the war machine rolling along. There are profits to be made, after all, eh Dick?

The proof will be if, this November, things change enough to dismantle the Republican majority in Congress. I’m not saying the Democrats are any better, by any stretch. After all, many of them voted for this war, though they later claimed they were misled. They further proved their weenie-ness this past week when Russ Feingold produced a measure to censure the President, and the afraid-to-dissent-and-seem-unpatriotic Dems let him twist in the wind. The Dems need to convey a better message than “We’re not them” in order to rally the voters. We can force them to revert to being the party of FDR and JFK, if we do it right, and not reduce them to being the party that has to defend Pro-Choice all damn day. The tent needs to get bigger, and they can’t be held captive by the extreme fringes, which seems to happen every election cycle.

It would send a message if many incumbents were defeated, and that should be the goal. See who is up for reelection in your district, make sure the voting machines work (that is, they aren’t made by Diebold), and vote for change. Me? I’m going to do my damndest to make sure that my state senator, noted Republican-in-Donkey-clothing Joe Lieberman, gets ousted.

Remember, this country was founded by a group of intelligent, pissed off guys, who were tired of living under the rule of an elitist system of which they could never be part. Sound familiar? Dissent is not only in our blood, it is our responsibility. At the very least, we need to restore the system of checks and balances designed by these brilliant thinkers, which were setup to prevent anyone, even our elected (or in this case, selected) leaders from putting themselves above the law. As Sean Hannity likes to say, "Now more than ever." Indeed, Sean. Indeed.
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