Tuesday, April 05, 2005

How to Boil a Frog

Picked this quote up over at Talking Points Memo, via Ray's blog:

Senator John Cornyn (contact him here, if you'd like), quoted from the floors of a nearly-empty house of Congress:
"It causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions. [Sometimes] the Supreme Court has taken on this role as a policymaker rather than an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people. I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence."
Ummm, what?

Imagine, for a moment, if a progressive (or, worse yet, a bright-blue America-hating liberal) had the audacity to suggest, even in the infuriatingly bloviating and tentative fashion employed by Cornyn here, that violence against members of the executive or legislative branch that engaged in something they didn't like was maybe, just maybe, well not justified exactly, but kinda sorta understandable.

Imagine some tree-hugging, granola-eating liberal with more than a few screws loose kills a Senator, or a Senators family, because he doesn't agree with, oh I don't know, some questionable legislation that the guy railroaded through, or maybe he had a problem with the Senator lying and intentionally assisting a member of the Executive branch into misleading a nation into supporting an unjust war. Or maybe methodically undermining civil rights under the guise of protecting us from the "Bad Guys." Something not exactly popular in this guy's circle of friends. And let's say Ted Kennedy steps up and says "Well, I don't agree, really, but you gotta understand, I mean, well, what can you expect?"

Can you even imagine the (justifiable and correct) outrage? The (immediate and all-encompassing) fallout? The speed with which the story would be amplified, via the Goddamn Liberal Media, repeated and rephrased and riffed-upon within an inch of its life by the CoulterLimbaughHannity machine, until it dominated the public and private airwaves and every Op/Ed page in the country? And the way in which any media outlet or talking head who didn't mimic the agreed upon points of outrage would be excoriated and demonized into non-existence?

This guy, a US Senator (not to mention a judge who served on the Texas Supreme court) is suggesting that judges who render opinion on law that runs counter to what people want shouldn't be too surprised if those bad, naughty people decide to, well, kill them. And that on some level this is understandable. Not commendable, lawdy no! But, well, what do you expect? Don't these justices see the way the wind is blowing? After all, two branches of the US government are sliding as quickly as gravity will carry them into religio-fascism. That damn third branch of government better get with the program and follow suit, quick, or well, they'll only have themselves to blame when people decide to pop a cap in their asses for rendering unpopular opinions.

When did this happen, exactly? When did the tipping point occur, because I think we have passed the tipping point. When members of Congress have the temerity to suggest that domestic terrorism is, well, sorta understandable when some folks don't get their way, I've got to believe that maybe we're not seeing the usual conservative-to-liberal-and-back-again pendulum swing. It's starting to feel like nearly everyone in power is on the same side of the teeter-totter, and anyone who's left clinging to the other end is gonna get shoved off by force if necessary, for the greater good, for the greater glory.

I'm sure you're familiar with the old parable of how to boil a frog. If not, here it is (if you know it, please be patient or feel free to skip ahead. But this won't take long): If you try to boil a frog by dropping it right into boiling water, you will fail because the frog will jump right out of the pot again. However, if you put a frog in cool water and then turn on the heat, the frog will not realize it is being slowly cooked alive.

Until it is too late.

So, here's the question: How long have we been in the pot? Each tick-mark on the radical right agenda a matchstick, our rights and civil liberties thrown on the fire in the name of safety and security, the wall separating church and state broken down, piece by piece, turned to kindling and thrown on the pyre, the flames reaching higher and higher, licking the air, caressing the sides of the pot, fitfully striking toward the heavens.

The water is near boiling. We're in the pot. And all I can wonder is, can we still jump out? Can we maybe splash enough water over the side to extinguish the flames? I don't know.

Mood: Troubled
Now Playing: UNKLE, "Never Never Land"

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