The Books of My Numberless Dreams


Posted on: February 13, 2008

I am too depressed this morning to attempt any light hearted or serious posts on literature. Some may think it’s none of my business to be so worried about American affairs except that a great deal of my family is there (including my mother and closest aunts and cousins) and who is left in Jamaica is mostly anxious to get there, except my grandfather who has no interests in leaving his plot of land. This makes me obliged to at least have to visit there except that current and upcoming US legislation is making this an increasingly unattractive venture, where even being a green card holder does not mean much. (All that wonderful fingerprinting and general hustle.) This should make me anxious to become a citizen except that, well, that’s not coming to mean much either as far as benefits and protections go.

Treating the Constitution as a Doormat – Scott Horton

If things proceed on the course now set by the Bush Administration and its shortsighted collaborators, and the national surveillance state is achieved in short order, then future generations looking back and tracing the destruction of the grand design of our Constitution may settle on yesterday, February 12, 2008, as the date of the decisive breach. It hardly got a mention in the media, obsessed as it was with reports on the primary elections, the use of drugs in sporting events, and that unfailing topic, the weather. Yesterday the Senate voted down the resolution offered by Senator Dodd to block retroactive immunity for the telecoms and it voted for a measure which guts the Constitution’s ban on warrantless searches by extending blanket authority to the Executive to snoop on the nation’s citizens in a wide variety of circumstances, subject to no independent checks. On the key vote, the Republicans in the Senate continued to function in lock-step, as they have on almost all significant issues for the last seven years, while the Democrats fragmented. Their vote summed up everything that’s wrong with Washington politics today. Fear and hard campaign cash rule the roost, and the Constitution is regarded as a meaningless scrap of parchment, indeed, a nuisance.

The issue in focus was a retroactive grant of immunity to telecommunications giants which violated the rights of millions of Americans by facilitating warrantless surveillance by the Bush Administration. With the exception of Qwest, they were knowingly complicit in criminal acts. And in a touch worthy of a totalitarian state, Qwest quickly found its CEO under criminal investigation and prosecuted. In fact the White House’s own arguments smack of the mentality of totalitarianism. Here’s the leading argument that the White House offers up in favor of the legislation:

“Companies should not be held responsible for verifying the government’s determination that requested assistance was necessary and lawful — and such an impossible requirement would hurt our ability to keep the Nation safe.”

But as Dan Froomkin notes at the Washington Post, “Isn’t that the very definition of a police state: that companies should do whatever the government asks, even if they know it’s illegal?” Indeed it is.

Senator John McCain voted against the amendments to remove the retroactive immunity clause. Clinton was absent. According to the New York Times report, Obama did not vote either contrary to other media reports, he “did oppose immunity on a key earlier motion to end debate”.

I ordered some French books today and will look in to how I can get some French lessons. I think I’ve decided, now, that my life belongs in Canada.


8 Responses to "Sadness"

This makes for depressing reading. I’m married to an American, and we do talk vaguely about moving to the States. Unfortunately, I just don’t think I could live happily there at the moment (nor in the foreseeable future unless the Democratic party can repair itself and the country). The plans for visa restrictions and air marshals on flights from Europe made big news over here this week:
And yes, most of my British friends with no ties to the States say they will definitely not visit there precisely because of things like this. Which is a shame for such a beautiful country filled with some of the friendliest people you can meet!

Does it help to know a lot of Americans are unahppy about what’s going on in the government? I know a lot of people, myself included, feel helpless to stop the Bushies. Our voices are ignored and our politicians are useless. We are hoping November’s elections will be a start in changing things but it will be a long, hard road.

logophile yes, I read about the Americans wanting armed security on planes from Europe on Boing Boing. Another reason why non-citizens are forced to follow American politics so closely — they are not content to abuse powers solely within their borders.

The reluctance to go there really is a shame for all the reasons you stated and more.

Sylvia merci, merci. 😀

Stefanie it helps and yet, not to be harsh, it offers little comfort when one reads of the Bush administration making yet another unAmerican move and, with little or no repercussion, getting away with it (over and over again). Especially since, if one goes off this instance, most of your presidential candidates ideas of “change” don’t look so different when they’re forced to do more than talk.

(Which is not to say that Canada’s government is approaching perfection. Ha! With Harper? To the contrary. He’s kinda scary himself.)

When we heard about this yesterday, my husband and I celebrated for the umpteenth time our being able to live outside of the US. I’m American but he is Swiss and we don’t plan to head back to the States, possibly ever. Especially as things get worse. But it makes me very sad to be so un-proud of my own country as well as have to worry about my family that still lives there.

During the last US election I was logged on to check the results as soon as they were available. It was so depressing to find out Bush won his second term as the US president.

A lot of my friends and I have promised ourselves we would NEVER step on American soil as long as Bush remains president. I’m following the current election proceedings closely — because I would like to believe they will finally get someone in who will undo a lot of the damages that has been made by Bush and his right-wing government.

The world has become a seriously frightening place since they came to power.

I had a related conversation with a friend on Tuesday who was complaining about the amount of coverage being given in the British media to the US presidential election. It doesn’t affect me and I don’t want to know about it was the purport of her complaint. But it does affect us. It affects the whole world and a head in the sand attitude isn’t going to change that. Anyone who thinks that the US President doesn’t influence UK policies should ask those families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq.

I’m sorry that those Americans who are not Bush supporters get stuck with all this fall-out. However, I am still glad I’m not American; but as you’ve said, Imani, with Stephen Harper at the helm we can’t really talk…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: