Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another bombing attempt=Freedomlovers vs. Freedomhaters


Why do premiere world news organizations like the NY Times give George Bush and Tony Blair a free stage for their manichean dramas? If they're going to let them try to frame events for their own political agendas, the least they can do is let a counterpoint, -view, -frame follow them.

Consider this from yesterday's NYT:

"But news of the plot also played into the fractured politics on both sides of the Atlantic, bolstering the arguments of those in London and Washington who argue, like Prime Minister Tony Blair, that the West is locked in an “elemental battle” with radical Islam. In the United States, President Bush said the plot showed that the United States was “at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom.”
This is a job for Captain Freedom, if there ever was one. Freedom and Security? The pinnacle of cynicism.

We are not told that our freedom and security are threatened by neo-liberal economic policies and theories of government. We are not told that lack of adequate healthcare, education, food, work, and access to political representatives and media organizations for all citizens (in the U.S. and elsewhere) is a threat to freedom, security, and democracy. Nor are we told that violent right-wing political ideologues have already taken many American lives on American soil in the first major terrorist attack in the U.S.--Timothy McVeigh's.

Let us then return to Lincoln for inspiration in these depressing times where events are exploited at every turn by political opportunists.

"The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names— liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the process by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty. Recently, as it seems, the people of Maryland have been doing something to define liberty, and thanks to them that, in what they have done, the wolf’s dictionary has been repudiated." --Abraham Lincoln, LECTURE ON LIBERTY ADDRESS AT SANITARY FAIR IN BALTIMORE, APRIL 18, 1864.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Nice quote from Lincoln. Very appropriate. This duality of perspective, combined with the overwhelming flood of information noise burying us every day, is the root of the poor decision making by the American electorate: The average person cannot any longer distinguish what to do.