Lyco and I were on the national evening news today. What were we doing? Not much, really: holding a banner, giving out flyers, registering our opinion of Gonzales and the Bush Administration. The occasion was Attorney General Gonzales attempting to justify spying on Americans during a speech he gave at Georgetown Law.
(Wonder how that would have gone over as a campaign platform for Bush in 2004 – We’d like to roll back the scope of Constitutional protections by doing things like Spying on Americans and Harassing and Torturing people we think are enemies.)
Here is a link to the C-Span coverage of the event (1/24/2006: Washington, DC:1 hr. 40 min.) Look about 7min and 30 seconds in. Please note Gonzales's blatant appeals to fear, not reason. 9/11 was awful, but it does not justify Bush trying to revamp the fundamental structure of our country. I'm sure spying on Americans is a useful tool. But it's not the right one to use, any more than torture is; these activities demean us as people. One does not do "everything (anything) one can" to achieve illusory security.
For a crystal clear response to the Administration's false position, go about 40 minutes into the video and listen to what David Cole has to say. It's a nice point by point rebuttal of the nonsense.
Al Gore also repudiated these ideas in his recent speech. While Sen. Leahy more expressly addressed
them in his speech (at Georgetown) where he pointed out that Congress
has spoken already (FISA), clearly against the argument that Gonzales
is making, which places Bush's power at its "lowest ebb," (law-speak
for "on super-shaky ground"). For a quick recap of the wiretapping
scandal, please look here.
We have the privledge of being a small part of a very active bunch of Georgetown Law students (not all of whom were in the room during the speech) who have just had it with this Administration and its mouthpieces. There's a point at which you have to say, You know, I listened to your arguments and I understand them, and ultimately, they're crap - in fact, it's demeaning that you're even trying to present them. In one sense I'm glad that the mainstream media is actually showing images of the protest, yet in another, it's quite sad demonstrations like the one pulled off today are largely structurally forbidden.
To attend to a few matters regarding the form of the protest, it was in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience - no one attempted to shout down Gonzales. (He wasn't there to air his thoughful presentation of the issues then stick around and listen to the other side; he was part of a full court Republican press to repeatedly say "legal, legal, it was legal" as many times as they can.)
The hoods were worn as a nod to Gonzales's advocated pro-torture policy arguments which has led to such shocking and disgusting abuses as we've witnessed at Abu-Ghraib - not, as some conservative pundits suggest, in an attempt to remain anonymous.
The Ben Franklin quote, which is receiving so much attention is properly: Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. You'll notice it does not fit well on a banner - thus the more common paraphrase, Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
This just in - one of our law school fellows didn't even know (last minute speech) that Gonzales was in the building. Our fellow left his classroom to see Gonzales, clearly outraged, surrounded by Secret Service, storm out of the building, screaming to no one in particular, "WE'RE PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS!!"
From whom, 'Berto, from whom?
Here's a list of links covering the event, courtesy Lyco:
News Sources covering the protest:
CNN (front page!)
Rhonda Ross – running for Congress in
A Random Smattering of Blog responses:
People at Live Journal are responding as well: