This evening, I had originally planned to post a nice review of War, Inc., which I finally got to see when I was in Chicago last weekend. It really is wickedly funny, and all the more topical given yesterday’s announcement about certain American and British oil companies going back to work in Iraq on no-bid contracts (read about that here). I’ll have to write that review tomorrow, though. Sorry.
The simple fact of the matter is, I’m too angry at the moment to write a good review.
The House Democrats sold us out today, folks. There’s no other way to describe it. And in doing so, they’ve pushed us a bit closer to that blurry, indistinct line that separates our democracy from fascism.
That’s assuming we haven’t crossed that line already. I’m really not completely sure, since it’s never been precisely clear to me what the defining characteristics of fascism are. There certainly seems to be a lot of debate about that on the internet. And it’s not like any modern government or political party will announce that it is hoping to institute a fascist form of government anymore, not since World War II. Still, we’ve seen the Bush White House use a lot of tactics that seem to come out of the Hitler playbook. Yes, I know that remark is likely to bring comments about Godwin’s Law — or it would if any of you, my dear non-existent readers, ever left comments, anyway. I don’t care. Sometimes, the Hitler analogy is appropriate from a historical perspective, and it has been increasingly so as this administration’s tenure has progressed.
But I digress.
The Democrats have a controlling majority in the House of Representatives. It’s not like the Senate, where they can only claim to have a majority because Joe Lieberman is still caucusing with them (even if he doesn’t vote with them on anything). So they didn’t have to cave.
They didn’t have to give in on the so-called compromise FISA measure. which grants the president expansive powers to spy on us without warrants — our phone calls, our e-mails, our internet surfing habits.
They certainly didn’t have to give the telecoms immunity. How the fuck does that make us any more secure, I ask you?
Yet this is precisely what they have done today. In doing this, they are giving us government not of the people, by the people, and for the people, but of, by, and for the major corporations. And for Big Brother.
In doing this, they betrayed us. The American people.
And it’s leaving me wondering what to do now?
See, here’s the thing. I used to be this corporate attorney. Big law firm, big business deals, big money. Well, big money for the number of years I was out of law school, anyway — lots of people were making a lot more money than me. I wore designer suits, I ate in nice restaurants, and I had a lovely office in…well, you don’t need to know which city, and I don’t want to make it too easy to identify me, for reasons I’ve already discussed elsewhere in this blog.
At first, the work was real easy to rationalize. Most of the clients I did work for were non-profit corporations performing essential services. So there I was, on the side of the angels, right? But the reality was, they were in competition with for-profit corporations, and in order to continue their operations, they had to engage in some of the same practices that the for-profits did just to remain financially viable.
This was very disturbing to me.
I tried going in-house at an organization that I believed then and still believe now to be very ethically run, but the business aspects were still getting to me. And when I have trouble believing in what I’m doing, I do not perform at my best.
Seven years out of law school, I was completely burnt-out.
I decided to go back to grad school to re-tool for a new career. I figured I would get my PhD, and then I could start working with certain organizations to educate legislators at the state and federal level about what scientific research was telling us about the field, and what the implications of that were for making policy applicable to that field.
Seems like a good fit, right? See, I already speak lawyerspeak, and politicianspeak and bureaucratspeak are both really just dialects of that language. So I thought I could help translate the scientific research (another language of its own) for the people making the policy, so that we don’t end up with policy that is so at odds with what all the research is telling us about certain things. (And yes, I’m dancing around the field I’m studying in, as well as the field I concentrated on in law. I’m trying to remain anonymous, remember.)
But then I watch things like what happened today, with the Democrats caving in to the President and the telecoms, instead of upholding the constitution. And I think about how the Democratic leadership has made it clear that impeachment is off the table. And I look at all the ways that the Democrats could have stood up for us since the 2006 election — on the Iraq war, on the economy, on our civil rights, on health issues, on torture and habeas corpus and corruption and no-bid contracts and the use of the Department of Justice for political ends and… the list just goes on and on and on.
And I wonder, am I fighting the wrong fight?
Should I be working within the system to bring about change?
Or should I be trying to change the fucking system?
I just don’t know anymore.