Monday, March 01, 2010

Book Number Ten

I knew I was going to like the book that the womanchild gave before I even opened it. It was by Bill of Wrongs, The Executive Branch's Assault on America's Fundamental Rights by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose. I miss Molly Ivins columns, and reading her words again was just a pleasure. Though raised a child of privilege, she was the absolute master of the down home, proudly liberal, populist voice.

Bill of Wrongs is not news. It was published after Ivin's death in 2007 and focuses on the George W. Bush administration. That's not entirely accurate. The true focus of the book is on people who either protested the administration or were suspected by it. Page after page, you read of events like arrests for wearing T-shirts or criticizing the Vice-President to his face. You read of jobs lost, homes and offices searched without warrants. You read of lawsuits that failed and those that succeeded at multiple judicial levels, including the Supreme Court. You read of deportation, extraordinary rendition and torture. This book definitely holds some scary and depressing parts that are still recent memory, and it makes me very glad that there's a new administration in town. Even with all the current problems.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that Bush was the only President that's stepped on the Bill of Rights. Ivins and Dubose do point out that incidents of suppressing free speech occurred under Clinton, the senior Bush, Reagan and Ford (albeit the one noted in this administration that I remember was crafted by Dick Cheney) and of course, Nixon. I think you could probably look at any administration and find something that tried to abridge our freedoms, sometimes in the name of security, sometimes in the name of progress. That may be one of never ending quests of a democracy -- determining just how much freedom we really want.

Bill of Wrongs also provides hope and helps you be proud of being American. You read about people who never intended to be activists who chose to fight back against the government for the simple reason that in this country, we're not supposed to be afraid of our government. We are guaranteed rights, and this book is a strong reminder of the words we've heard so many times. Freedom isn't free. You do have to stand up for it, and sometimes you have to fight for it. The battlefield isn't just always some foreign land.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Between you and Mary Ellen, you're going to get me to read a book this year...! :P

March 01, 2010 11:39 PM  
Anonymous interpretation of dreams said...

When you think about politics, you never know what can happen on the next day!

March 03, 2010 10:01 AM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

I miss Molly Ivins and Ann Richards...two of Texas' greatest women.

March 03, 2010 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the science jobs in our area now require a security clearance as most of the jobs now have to do with "homeland security" "bioterrism" etc. I was a reference for someone who was applying for one of these jobs and the questions I had to field were ridiculous. "If we went to war would (my friend) side with the US or the other side?" Really, that's an exact quote.

I truly resent that we are taught now to fear our government and to never question anything, as all questioning is deemd "unpatriotic." I already feel like we do not live in a free society. (I feel the opposite, I feel its our duty to question when we feel something is not right.)

The correct answer to the posed question would be "your question is invalid as it assumes only two possible answers. One could support the US but be opposed to war." But, I didn't have the courage to say that to the investigator for fear of messing up my friend's job application.

This is our tax payer dollars at work folks. (Think some will come after me for posting this?)


March 10, 2010 8:23 AM  

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