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28 October 2005

please sign my loony psycho bleeding-heart liberal petition

Try to imagine what the text at the bottom of this post means to someone in the People's Republic of China, or to someone in Tibet, or to someone living in Burma/Myanmar, or someone living in "liberalized" post-Soviet Russia (whose president used to run the KGB).

Imagine what reading a Spanish translation of this means to people living in El Salvador today, as their government tries to stamp out MS-13 / Mara Salvatrucha with new repressive emergency measures called "Super Mano Dura" -- Super Firm Hand.

Imagine what reading the paragraph below would have meant in Pinochet's Chile, or in the Brazil of the years of "Kiss of the Spider Woman," or in Portugal under Salazar and his ghastly repressive PIDE. Imagine what reading this text would have meant to a Cambodian during the years of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge terror.

Imagine what this meant to Germans living under National Socialism.

The Bush administration will not have been the first administration to use the United States Constitution and its first ten Amendments -- the Bill of Rights -- to wipe shit from their asses and laugh at the American people as these Protections from a Hostile, Suspicious, Punitive, Repressive Government of Scoundrels are stolen from all citizens, not likely ever to be returned. It is a historical mistake and inaccuracy even to think that Republican administrations hate the Bill of Rights more than Democratic administrations.

The War on Drugs in particular -- just arbitrarily today, I'll call it 30 years old, but it's really almost a century old -- has been an enthusiastic Bipartisan achievement, with Democratic Congress members and Senators falling all over themselves to shred the Bill of Rights into little pieces faster and urinate on them with more contempt than their Republican colleagues.

And the same desecration of the Bill of Rights takes place in almost every state legislature, by both parties, to applause and self-congratulation, with great pride and career satisfaction. As this is written, at least a half-dozen legislative committees are meeting in Washington and in statehouses around the country and voting to weaken or discard a Constitutional Protection. After the Right has been discarded, the lawmakers pose proudly for photos with police and Homeland Security officials who demanded it and claimed it was absolutely necessary to protect us all from Terrorists.

Protections for every ordinary citizen which Thomas Jefferson and his fellow American Visionaries astonished the World with by giving to All Citizens of the just-born United States of America. They were all fresh off the boat from Europe. They were going to make their new United States of America very different. Permanently different, they hoped. But they knew these Rights and Protections would only survive if the citizens who came after them had the wisdom and courage to keep fighting for their Constitutional protections.

There's an old newspaper and political science gag that pops up and gets written about every year or two. A bored newspaper editor sends a reporter, or an ambitious Poli Sci undergrad goes to a big shopping mall and sets up a little card table with a clipboard and a pen, and asks the shoppers to sign a petition. Most people who glance at the language of the petition drop the clipboard and walk away; they won't sign it. It's too radical, too revolutionary, too loony, too screwy. They think hyper-liberal kommie radicals are trying to overthrow the government. The shoppers don't want their names on it; they're afraid they'll get in trouble with the government. Very few people will sign it.

And almost no one recognizes what it is.

Here's one paragraph from the psycho kommie bleeding-heart petition that almost nobody at the American shopping mall wants to sign:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Enmienda IV

El derecho de los habitantes de que sus personas, domicilios, papeles y efectos se hallen a salvo de pesquisas y aprehensiones arbitrarias, será inviolable, y no se expedirán al efecto mandamientos que no se apoyen en un motivo verosimil, estén corroborados mediante juramento o protesta y describan con particularidad el lugar que deba ser registrado y las personas o cosas que han de ser detenidas o embargadas.


Anonymous Jim Olson said...

Where do I sign?

Is there a clause that allows reasonable people to search for hypocrisy on the computers and under the mattresses of closet-case right wing republican wackos who protest to much about what goes on in my bedroom?

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

well uhhh i was just telling about the old shopping mall loony petition gag ...

but if anybody wants to sign the Vleeptron Petition which looks exactly like the Bill of Rights, please sign right here. That would be cool -- the Comment Sewers deep beneath Ciudad Vleeptron filled with thousands (I hope) of signatures supporting -- demanding -- the Bill of Rights.

Robert Merkin / Northampton Massachusetts


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