Update: You probably ought to read Coturnix’s views at Blog Around the Clock, “We are now officially living in a dictatorship.” God willing, he is not correct.
My first observation: Fox reporter Chris Wallace asked a question proposed by a listener in e-mail — probably hoping to embarrass Bill Clinton. Clinton took the question knew exactly what it was intended to do, and delivered a Philippic* on how Clinton worked to get Osama bin Laden before September 2001, that rather stunned people used to Democrats rolling over and letting half-truths win. It was front page in the Dallas Morning News (the Associated Press story, with a photo), and the talk of the internet.
Second observation: Clinton’s interview prompted this, a letter from a mother who lost her daughter on September 11, 2001. It turns out not all of the survivors of the victims of the initial attack think the current administration handled things well, either before or after the attack, and it appears there may be a minor flood of complaints from this quarter.
Third observation: Historians familiar with the Alien and Sedition Acts and their effects on America (prompting the ouster of John Adams from office, making him the first one-term president) couldn’t help but wonder when Congress last week approved bills to authorize activities in capturing and detaining prisoners from the campaign against terrorism. These activities previously ruled been ruled unAmerican by the Supreme Court — or unconstitutional, at least.
Are we at a tipping point now? Has public opinion made a turn that will be a topic for future history tests, on the war against terror and the Bush administration? (Malcolm Gladwell, what do you say?)
This morning’s e-mail brought this, an obituary for America, by Larry Butts:
An Obituary by Larry Butts
America (1776 – 2006)
America, often referred to by her nickname “Land of the Free,” was killed today in Washington, DC, by a drunk driver. The driver has been identified only as Commander in Chief. She had been ill recently.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, her parents included Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, and George Washington.
She was known in her youth as rebellious, and, after throwing off the shackles of a tyrannical dictator, she and her family pledged that they would prefer death to a life under an oppressor.
America was most proud of her offspring, Bill of Rights. She insisted that everyone be allowed to say or write anything about anybody, even in a newspaper. “My home is my castle,” she would often be heard saying. This meant that nobody had the right to come into her home or carry her off quietly during the night without a proven need to do so, and that need couldn’t be someone else’s hysteria. And, America was even comfortable agreeing to have a trial in public with impartial judges if she ever was believed to have done something wrong. Nothing made her angrier than to see someone punished when they had only been suspected of wrongdoing so she made sure that everyone had the right to confront their accusers and any witnesses in public. And, anticipating that big shots would forget or abuse the abstract ideals of justice, fairness, morality, and integrity, she made sure that all of us could get a good attorney if we ever needed one. America, just as all her brothers and sisters, hated cruel and unusual punishment. She cried all night with a broken heart when she learned that people were being tortured just for her safety. She learned well the lessons taught to her by her parents, and “Give me liberty or give me death” was not just a slogan to her.
She lived her life true to the highest ideals. Never fearful, America, Land of the Free, would enter any battle to help others. Generous with her wealth, she gave to others so that their lives might be more fulfilling. People around the world were attracted to her integrity, her sense of right versus wrong, and good versus bad. She said what she meant and meant what she said. She accepted responsibility for her own actions, and never falsely blamed others. Although her ideals were universal, many insisted that she be referred to as Christian.
Unwavering, America was never tempted to sacrifice her principles even when fired upon at Fort Sumter, bombed at Pearl Harbor, assaulted by Senator Joseph McCarthy, intimidated by night riders from the Ku Klux Klan, or mired in a winless war in southeast Asia.
Many are saddened by her demise, but those that will miss her most are Opportunity, Dreams, Promise, Honor, Hope, Vision, and Leadership.
Friends had been concerned about her illness. For six years, her doctors refused to admit there was anything wrong with her even while her symptoms deteriorated and her loved ones pleaded for intervention. Newspapers and television hastened her decline by refusing to ask her “care givers” why she seemed so out of control. This recent lack of judgment seems to have contributed to her willingness to get in the car with one who had repeatedly shown that he could not drive responsibly.
Her remains will probably be cremated, or just locked away in a vault somewhere in eastern Europe or Guantanamo Bay and forgotten.
Memorials may be made to any organization that fights for your rights.
(By Larry Butts, BJDLFB515@INDY.RR.COM)
[* - "Philippic" may not be exactly the term I'm looking for, in the third definition, in the sense that Clinton's speech wasn't "filled with invective." If you have a better term to use, let me know.]