Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.
– William O. Douglas, former Supreme Court Justice
I am apolitical to the point of being apathetic. Neither Democrat or Republican, more a begrudging participant, and even then, only when it’s time to vote.
As far as voting for president is concerned, I have done so every four years since 1980, and in those seven presidential elections I have not once managed to cast a vote for the “winning” candidate. That should give you an idea of where I’m coming from. Not exactly the mainstream, but I came to grips with that a long time ago.
I hesitate to write anything even remotely related to politics, mainly because politics is so god damned boring that thinking or talking about it makes me want to fling myself from the top of the Washington monument onto an unsuspecting cluster of gaping tourists and beggars.
But one thing always gets up my nose, whether you’re talking politics or real life, is hypocrisy. To declare that politicians are hypocritical is obvious and pointless, of course. But then I have a flair for the obvious and pointless, so here we go.
As I might have given away with the opening quote, this little bitchfest is about freedom of speech and expression, and to me, that is a personal issue, not a political one. The first amendment to our Bill of Rights exists to prevent it from becoming a political issue, yet politicians are continually scurrying about in the shadows – and more recently in the cold light of day – to erode that freedom.
The height of hypocrisy in America has to be the repression of free speech. How can someone claim to love this country and the principles it was founded on, and at the same time engage in censorship? How can an administration with a Vice President who feels free to say to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, “Go fuck yourself!” – on the floor of the Senate no less – also lobby for tighter restrictions on broadcasters?
Republican Senator Ted Stevens of the great state of Alaska told the National Association of Broadcasters, “I think we have the same power to deal with cable as over-the-air…” – meaning the majority party in the house and senate are striking while they have a window of opportunity, and gearing up to take away your HBO, CineMax, Pay-per-view porn and satellite radio. Why? Because, well, you know…umm…the children! Yeah, that’s it!
The children! That is always their argument. The precious and wonderful children mustn’t be exposed to such things as bare asses and people saying “shit.” Which begs the question, what kind of parent can’t control what goes into their own children’s sacred and unspoiled eye and earholes?
The kind who don’t want to talk to their children, that’s who. The kind who wouldn’t know what to say if little Jennifer asked, “Mommy, what’s a penis?” They are horribly uncomfortable with such natural and factual issues, and they want to prevent anyone anywhere from mentioning such nasty things as shit and penises so that they can continue to pretend that they don’t exist.
That’s “Family Values” in a nutshell.
After “regulating” (and by regulating they mean eradicating) all “adult” content from televisions and radios – even the adult content that you are paying to enjoy – they will move on to dictating what you can read and probably think about as well.
Think I’m exaggerating? Our pal Senator Ted Stevens also wants to regulate the internet.
In fact, the Federal Election Commission has already extended a 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet. That sets the stage for the federal government to potentially shut down any site that they determine is “contributing” too much to a political campaign.
As most things governmental, it is a vague and undefined law (at least as it applies to the internet), and vague and undefined translates to wide-reaching and oppressive in the real world.
Which political party is in favor of regulating pay services and the internet? Republicans. Overwhelmingly. But why is that hypocritical if Republicans constantly bang the drum for “decency” and “family values”? Well, it is hypocritical because Republicans – yes, even Republican politicians – are only human (hard for me to admit, but true).
They swear and fuck each other and eat fatty foods and watch naked people on TV. But they are also cowards and liars, because while engaging in these perfectly acceptable adult pastimes, they can also be found loudly proclaiming from every rooftop and cable news channel that, “We must eliminate this scourge of indecency from our fine and moral country!”
We continue to catch them with their hands in the cookie jar and their dicks in women (or men) other than their wives, yet they carry on, utterly unapologetic and with more energy and resolve than ever before. They learned long ago that people don’t care one bit about what you do, only about what you say.
And if your message is shouted in sufficiently simple terms and with just the right amount of righteous indignation, the same people who you bent over the table and brutally ass-fucked yesterday will wipe their noses, pull their pants up and stand to applaud you today.
Of course this applies to politicians of all stripes, but the typical Democrat seems to be savvy enough not to run around screaming about “family values,” while organizing book burnings. “Ooh, he said ‘book burnings’…what’s next, comparing modern day politicians to Nazis?”
Well, whether you like it or not, “regulating” things people pay to see is no different than burning books. It is the suppression of ideas that the ruling class doesn’t want the unwashed masses to have easy access to.
These flag-waving, family values, JESUS-on-a-stick types (admit it, the three go together more often than not, regardless of political affiliation) are a confounding bundle of contradictions, repression and hatred. It’s hard to believe they haven’t imploded like a black hole yet, into a tiny, angry, molecule that no light can escape from. I think that’s what they really want. They would be safe in there. Safe from us bad, naked, cursing folks and our penises and boobies. But unfortunately, there’s nowhere they can go to be safe from themselves.
The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
– H. L. Mencken
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
– Edward R. Murrow
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.
– James Baldwin
And finally, on a somewhat related note;
I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.
– George Washington, Federalist
What the hell was Washington talking about? Maybe something like this;
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”
– George W. Bush, 3/13/02
Wait a minute, in 2001 didn’t the same President say, “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”?
So you tell me, what is this administration’s prospect of interest or reward where the current great and lasting war is concerned?
The founding fathers of this great and crazy country would be appalled and disgusted to see what politics and politicians have become. We deserve better.