Thursday, December 15, 2011
Not a Generational Thing
While selective essayists like Tom Brokaw love to pretend about The Greatest Generation, most of us know more to the story.
Of course, as a boomer, I am prey to the cliché of each generation disdaining the obvious flaws of the preceding one. We aren't short of examples, such as our parents' delusion that a never-ending post-WWII growth spiral would pay for their corporate and governmental excesses, and that the Vietnam was was wise, right and winnable.
Yet it is annoying and shameful that now that the boomers are pretty much in charge, they, that is we, are doing many of the same stupid things that the WWII, greatest/greediest generation did.
The warmongering of the elected boomers is stunning. We're not as crazy and hateful about homosexuals, so there's that. Polls are solidly convincing that when the WWII generation dies off, marriage equality will occur. They hated equality for African Americans, for women and now for gays. That'll be better soon and the states can fix those inane and vicious one-man/one-woman laws and amendments.
On the other hand, George Bush the Lesser and Barack Obama are the same on stripping away our rights and accustomed liberties. They both are monsters of awful effect.
For a decade or so, we figured that the intrusive, unconstitutional, dictatorial spying, wiretapping, and secret-police tactics belonged to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon. We boomers grew up tittering about commies under the bed and Tricky Dick's paranoia. Those are not limited to previous generations. Not by a long shot!
Boomer Bush with his Igor Chaney implemented a terrible reign of the inaptly named Homeland Security. The ramifications include as bad a set of laws and secret policing as we have seen since the British occupation in the colonial period. To his permanent, ineffable disgrace, Bush was wont to say if you have nothing to hide, you can't object to the spying, police bullying, and wiping out the powers of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Who needs habeas corpus when arbitrary whispers of terrorism trump the protections millions of died for from even before we formally were a nation?
We boomers grew up with a deep sense of our citizens' rights. Our history and civics classes found reinforcement in books, comics, TV and movies with morals about our rich set of liberties. We did learn along the way that they hadn't always applied to Native Americans, black folk, women, Asians and many other groups, nor to interracial couples and on and on. Yet, we saw how in one area after another, we had fixed those oversights, shortcomings, and legal bigotries.
However, we as a nation have an ingrained habit of electing exactly the Presidents who most despise and abuse those liberties boomers assumed we'd have. Long before he was prez, Nixon was Joe McCarthy's chief investigator on the House Committee on Un-American Activities, a.k.a. HUAC. That alone should have disqualified him from higher office. George Bush the elder was head spook at the CIA, which likewise should have kept a professional liar and sneak from the Oval Office. That Reagan fellow likewise was the dishonorable, dishonest, anti-free-speech/anti-liberty black list guy in Hollywood. Yet, he also became POTUS.
Each of those Presidents spit at and stomped on U.S. citizens' freedoms. There was always an excuse of the Cold War, 9/11 or whatever. Give up what defined America to stay alive, they'd tell us.
Now that Obama guy has done it repeatedly. The latest is surelyt as reprehensible as it gets, apparently done to solidify the POTUS power at the expense of the rest of us.
Glenn Greenwald at Salon has a frightening series on this. Check this current post and click to his background ones. The Levin/McCain bill that Obama signed has to be found unconstitutional, I say, but until it is, it allows indefinite detention of anyone suspected by undefined police types of terrorism leanings against this country, either here or overseas. That's right, boys and girls, anyone anywhere can be picked up and incarcerated without proof or defense for as long as the formerly freedom supporting U.S. agents feel like.
Thinking of Tricky Dick, how un-American can you get, Barack?
Tags: massmarrier, secret police, Bill of Rights, habeas corpus, McCarthyism, Levin McCain, detention