breaking news: cindy sheehan was arrested inside Capitol chambers and "escorted" to jail after she had been invited by a chamber member to attend. reports are muddled. some have her wearing a tee shirt sporting the number of troops killed in Iraq. others have her unfurling a banner. that's all i've got right now.
but it leads me to this new twist on the Patriot Act renewal. Mind you, Bob Barr is no longer a darling of the right wing. But it sends a very troubling message. So far as I know there have been no threatening instances of citizens attempting to express their views at events of this type. Those who wish to be arrested tend to let that be known beforehand. Suddenly, security for "VIPS" is an issue? I think not. I think that the issue is more about "VIPS" not wanting opposing viewpoints to be heard during their photo ops. What I think we have here is an attempt by the Roman Senate to distance themselves from the reality of the people's unrest. I mean, we have a president putting out photographs of himself at functions where the press is not allowed. Many of these functions had been open to the press up until this administration came into power. We have an administration "scrubbing" photos so we can't see Jack Abramoff standing next to the president. The Congress shakes its finger at the president for wiretapping without jumping through the normal legal hoops (as morally minimal as they are), but doing nothing to ensure he toes the line in the future. Republicans call for "investigative committees" that may or not convene during this century. Democrats get on their high horse and talk about how everyone would have free access to the internet if they are voted back into power.
None of them care about you and me. None of them remember the thin times, the years without, months where bills had to be juggled and the phone wasn't paid in order to keep the hot water on. Most of them have known this life. Most of them like giving themselves pay raises and justifying it by telling us that being a politician is hard work (i.e. away from home all the time and the junkets and the bad food and the lousy golf and the slimy lobbyists who try and bribe them successfully and the press that won't let them alone and the late nights drinking martinis while they try to coerce multinationals and gimungous corporations into flopping a throwaway to the masses in return for gimungous tax breaks and the speeches they can't charge $100,000 for yet because they're still a public servant and the book deal they signed and haven't ghostwritten a lick of yet). Do you think that one of these politicians truly gives a damn about you or me? The new guys are always the wave of the future, the ones who get elected because they're pissed off at the way things are run. We listen and we vote with our hearts. But time and again we are let down by the very "reformers" who hold us for the moment in their sway. Until we find out that they compromised the very values they insisted were the ones they would never let go of. The values elected them for. Politics is not a clean affair. Don't let anyone tell you different. There is almost no way in which a politician can stay truly clean. Compromises ARE made. Deals ARE cut by enemies if only to ensure that one amendment is included in a bill. BUT.
But it seems to me that more and more our "elected officials" are cutting and running from the basic paltforms which got them into their hallowed positions. More and more they are "listening" to their consituents and disregarding all. When the public says that Bush is not doing a good job, why are they not en masse arriving at his doorstep and demanding accountability? When the public says that Alito is untrustworthy why are they not stopping the proceedings and calling for more questions? When the public thinks that Iraq is a big, fucking mess why are they not addressing this in the Senate or the House in any meaningful manner? The president once said that he didn't run his business according to polls or something like that. But the polls are based on talking to the very people who vote. The very people who care enough to speak up. The very people who stood up to the British and said "enough is enough" (no offense to living Brits unless, of course, you think another invasion is warranted).
And that brings up another point of contention. Why are we being forced to go all the way back to original signers of the Decalration of Independence and the Constitution in order to argue the merits of Democracy? Democracy is the reason we are here. Democracy is the foundation. But it seems that (after almost 250 years) we still don't get it. Every one of us wants power. Still. Every one of us wants our person in a place of influence in order to promote our narrow frame of thinking. We have no tolerance for those who think differently. We have no ability to accept that we are all free thinkers and we continue to exist precisely because of that. We are because we can. But every other word out of our political mouths is "can't". If we continue to be so obsessed with "can't", then we probably deserve to be looked at as an empire and deserve to reap the consequences of an empire.