Monday, June 16, 2003

i finished two books yesterday. isabel allende's "the house of the spirits" and dershowitz's "supreme injustice." i was so disturbed after completing both of these works that i ended up in my kitchen doing dishes, trying to scrub away my concern. it didn't work and i had trouble sleeping last night.

we went to see isabel speak last week at a book signing. someone asked her some question about what we americans can learn from chile's experiences. there were comparisons of the 1973 coup to september 11th. and isabel said, "you know, on a tuesday morning, on september 11th, our presidential palace was bombed by american pilots. we never thought it could happen there; we were latin america's strongest democracy...and then, years later, on a tuesday morning, on september 11th..." i don't know exactly what else she said. i do remember her voice saying something like, "your CIA has a history of doing not-very-nice things in other countries" and her making some comment about how when she first came to the u.s., she noticed we had a far-right constituency that could be dangerous if they ever got enough power.

last night, i was reading about election 2000, and dershowitz stated that the decision by the supreme court in bush v. gore indicated a new type of judicial conservative activism. he talked about how with the number of retirees pending in the courts, and the congress and the executive controlled by republicans, we are now in a time in which the balance of power is threatened because one party has all the branches under its thumb. new appointments to the courts will most likely not be made on the basis of worthiness per say, but on the basis of towing the party line.

in "the house of the spirits," the character alba, after the 1973 coup, wonders "where all the fascists" came from.

i am trying not to be paranoid. can you feel it?

in november of 2001, my class on the third reich spent half of one class discussing the events of the fall. i found myself sitting there, aghast at my classmates, most of whom were arguing that ceding rights in a time of national crisis is okay, permissible, necessary. i was dismissed when i suggested that this was foolhardy, that you should never let the government take rights from you, no matter what the reason they give. (i especially feel this is the case if the government starts crying "national security." that's when my alerts really go on.) i couldn't seem to find anyone who agreed with me. i made eye contact with my professor who just looked back at me. i think she was as surprised as i was. i couldn't believe that i was sitting in a class on nazi germany trying to argue that we shouldn't give away our rights. these were people who obviously had studied what happens when you start letting a government take away your rights, and still there was no connection. if it was the comparison to nazi germany that was the turnoff, then i could provide plenty of other cases in which the people lost their freedom to the relatively slow but conscious tyrannical grabs by those in charge....what makes us think we're immune...?
[we, of all people who ever lived...]

god, why can't the democrats fucking get their shit together?