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7/23/06
ACLU—Reefer Madness, Gay Pryde, USA Koran Prisoner Torture

Dear Kim:

I went to the annual Bill of Rights dinner for the ACLU last night. I love the ACLU. I am, as they say, a card carrying member.It feels like one of the purest organizations around. Freedom of speech means freedom of speech for everyone. Whether it is progressives or Nazis or creationists.

There is something very comforting in that and in the idea that the ACLU, unlike public television, is free of commercials or corporate sponsorship.
In the latter stages of Western Capitalism, when it seems like everything is a branding opportunity or product placement, it is a breath of fresh air.

Anthony Romero, the national head of the ACLU was the keynote speaker and he forecast a pretty frightening time. He prefaced this by saying that he was not into hyperbole, that crying that the sky is falling would not serve anyone if conditions were not dire.

But the picture he went on to paint about how we are behaving as a country was dismal. He talked about the rise of Right Wing Fundamentalism and the related blurring of the three branches of government and separation of church and state. The emphasis on the teaching of creationism or the theory of intelligent design by, I suppose, a divine intelligence.He talked about the US reign of terror. That 150,000 pages of documents detailing U.S. acts of violence against prisoners of war have been identified.

This is scary stuff. It is difficult to understand how millions of Americans are going about their lives, trying to live and behave decently, to take care of their families, be good neighbors and friends and deal with the escalating cost of everything while our government is blatantly ignoring human rights and destroying the constitution. And worst of all, lying to us about what is happening.

Senator Joan Bray received an award last night and she represents the opposite of the Bush administration. She is down to earth and honest about her affiliations, unabashedly pro choice and believes`in equal protect under the law `for everyone. As I listened Romero speak, I tried to think of how many politicians I trust, the way I trust Joan Bray.

I had a hard time computing that. At least in my memory, ever since Watergate, the idea of an honest politician has seemed like an oxymoron. There was, of course, Jimmy Carter in this period, but he was largely ineffective in a number of areas and also seems like an exception. And of course, he was not reelected.

I am increasingly aware of how people in other countries legitimately despise America for its bullying tactics under the guise of democracy. When it is really colonizing much of the world. I am deeply uncomfortable and deeply ashamed.

Later,

Joan

Thursday, Dec 8, 2005

7:13 PM

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