Didja watch? Didja, didja? Wasn’t it great? I wanted to watch more – like I wanted to watch more of the Olympics – but I only caught the tail end of Barney Smith, some commentary, and then Obama’s acceptance speech on TV. And whew, what a speech. No, not transcendent oratory, which he is capable of, but a speech that had a job to do and did it.
Echo was sitting on my lap for most of it, and at one point, I asked if she knew who that guy talking was. “That’s the President, honey,” I said, and as I said those words, a little shiver went through me. I have never used that word with her, never schooled her about what nation-state she belongs to or any such stuff that used to be called ‘citizenship’. I cannot imagine exposing her to the malice, avarice, and slow-wittedness of Dubya – it seems on a par with feeding her lead shavings, not to mention exposing her to the roiling boil of my nerves he instigates, which is never a good thing to expose a tot to. So this whole concept, “President,” is a brand-new one. And friends, yes, I did get a little shiver. Yes, sure, I’m a Green and a Zapatistaist and on occasion a black-masked anarchist, putting me perhaps a little further afield, politically, than most likely voters. Sure. But, damnit, I’m still a citizen. I still have the right (the duty?) to care about how defiled the Presidency has become, and I still have the right to expect something from leadership that purports to be mine. Aaah, to imagine it … President Obama! A president who calls the U.S.’s addiction to oil exactly that, an addiction; a president who can both read and speak in complete paragraphs; a president who realizes that the middle class is the backbone, the lifeblood, the foundation of the U.S. rather than a beast to be bled to death. Who knows, this may be the year I pay taxes.
~~~~~~~~long digression below, sorry~~~~~~~~~
Now, look, I still can’t reconcile myself to his FISA vote, OK. But upon reflection I do understand it better. Surveillance, baby; that’s the future; your life on the big screen, at any given moment. Giving permission, why, that’s so last century! I think of an old college prof of mine, someone I T.A.ed for multiple times. His thesis of privacy: Have none. Own everything about you and about your life, own it without shame, announce it or at least be prepared to at any moment. Invasion of privacy is only an invasion to the person with a secret. So, have no secrets, have no shame, and be done with hypocrisy. Then it won’t matter a whit to you who spies on you.
To some extent, I totally agree. Some secrets should not be had. I can’t bring myself to care about the rights to privacy of a child pornographer who gets arrested because someone intercepted and read his emails; spy away, I say! Tap his phone, open his mail, I bless you for it. BUT. There is a problem here. This theory of total transparency works just fine if your ‘secret’ is, say, crossdressing, or a foot fungus, or atheism, or polyamory. But what if you are one of that vast silent majority of Americans who feel that a glass of wine is on a moral and functional par with a bong hit? Now your ‘secret’ could cost you your house, your children, your career, your very life. Could. Could, if someone chooses to punish you. You ask me, until drug laws (and those nasty anti-gay laws) are finally made sane, FISA is not much more than the attempt to get a handle for blackmail on every American alive, and that simply sucks.
So, softies! I’ll be catching up with my softie-mailing duties this weekend, so be prepared to give me your mailing address. As soon as those babies are shipped, I’m moving on to ROBOTS.