Thursday, October 5, 2006

Petty Tyranny and Grand Larceny


That picture is NOT photoshopped: those thin lips and slit-like nostrils are, as far as we know, real. Yep, it's the Voldemort look—Ralph Fiennes with blond hair and tits.

She's the latest in a long line of Harry Potter haters, who range from Dudley Dursley all the way to Pope Benedict. This one is just another Bible-beating bloviator in Georgia, trying to swing her red state brethren to ban J.K. Rowling's novels:

Laura Mallory, a mother of four, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Tuesday that the popular fiction series is an "evil" attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.

I know, it does not deserve a response—but what about the ignoramous's four kids? If we can't teach our kids to make free choices in this generation, then I'm laying even money that this miserable species of ours doesn't survive another century on this planet. So here's my response to Ms. Mallory and all her "foul, loathsome, evil cockroach" (as Hermione would say) Death Eater friends—it's from my Tao of Hogwarts:

Why is it that the Potter books have so inflamed the followers of certain fundamentalist sects of Christianity? It is clear that some violent passions have been aroused by Mrs. Rowling's fiction: the infamous book burnings, especially in the context of the magical themes of the stories themselves, evoke the inquisitions of medieval Europe and the Salem witch hunts in America. Now, to have one's books burned by a sick fragment of the religious right is harmful only to those who are poisoned by the consciousness that lights such a petty conflagration—especially the children among them. Otherwise, as many a wag has observed, it is simply good publicity. But could these violent attitudes toward a set of children's books be telling us something more—about both the stories themselves and the emotions they seem to arouse? This is where I think the character of Lord Voldemort comes in, for he is, indeed, the very embodiment of fundamentalism. Could it be that these fearful, paranoid right-wing ideologues that burn Mrs. Rowling's books are simply reacting to the terrible reflection of themselves that appears in the characters of Lord Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters?

Now, on to the news...

Sometimes I wonder about these scandals involving the GOP, how they so often seem to arrive in the midst of some skullduggery being perpetrated by the Bushies against human life and civil rights. Have you noticed how the Foley sexual email furor broke out just a day or two after one of the most horrendous and fundamental assaults on the American judicial system? Have you noticed how the effective repeal of habeas corpus was instantly pushed by Foleygate into the nether regions of the newspapers?

Well, Jon Stewart did.

Just think it over for a moment: last Friday, the venerable Center for American Progress was correctly exposing the reality of the Bush assault on one of the cornerstones of American liberty:

On Wednesday, the House rubber-stamped (253-168) the White House-backed legislation governing the interrogation and trial of terror suspects, "a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." Yesterday, the Senate passed the measure in a 65-34 vote. This legislation was the result of a supposed "compromise" between conservative lawmakers and the administration. But in reality, the bill was more about making sure President Bush has the opportunity to sign high-profile terrorism legislation before the midterm elections. The bill was drafted in Vice President Cheney's office and gives Bush "the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture," and to deny habeas corpus to detainees.

Today, CAP is asking why the neocon trumpet of the print media, the Washington Times, is calling for Denny Hastert's head in the wake of Foleygate.

Now I will not dismiss the Foley affair as a non-issue (we've been writing about it all week). Foley, Hastert, and the rest of the do-nothing neocon pervs, liars, and crooks deserve everything that's coming to them, and then some, I bet. But my question now is: given the short-attention-span illness that has beset the American media these past few years, how soon can we expect a resurrection of the public debate on the undermining of a constitutional mandate that keeps you and I from being detained without cause or charge?

My answer is, it had better be soon, and loud. Because today, the Bushies managed to wangle a temporary approval of their program of tyranny from a court in...Cincinnati.

Amazing how that happened while the nation was reading Rep. Foley's emails. You know, the ones sent over public IM and email portals with his initials and date of birth as the identifying markers. Is anyone that stupid?

Perhaps the bottom line on this was best expressed by our friend over at Current Era, Tom Rushing:

The writ of habeas corpus allows people to challenge in court the legality of their detention. Without it, one can be held until dying of old age for no reason or any reason. We know that Bush does not value the constitution or even the more essential ideals that the United States was founded upon because he personally lobbied lawmakers on this. Bush has been quoted as saying while sitting in the Oval office, “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” Well Bush, if that is the way you feel about it, you and the 51 Senators that just voted to defecate on our freedoms and the constitution are just goddamn assholes. Bush said that people hate us for our freedoms, so maybe his plan is take all of our freedoms away and then they won’t hate us? Yeah, that has to be it.


One final question: how in the devil did we reach this point where we are handing over our foundational liberties to a handful of petty tyrants, thieves, and pedophiles? What psychological pull did they have upon us and our media to so easily steal everything we hold precious in this nation?

Tomorrow, we'll offer one man's answer, when we reveal the person behind our banner quote of the week. For now, I have one more reminder for Ms. Mallory and her ilk: there has probably never been a time in our nation's history when we have needed magic more than we do now.

1 comment:

Kazaam said...

What I like about the whole affair is Foley has conveniently "Checked in" for treatment on Alcoholism.