Keith Olbermann, on his MSNBC show, has often offered some very insightful special comments at the end of his broadcast. Yesterday’s was especially poignant, so I wanted to share the transcript with you.
And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.
We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived… as people in fear. And now – our rights and our freedoms in peril – we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy. For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.
We have been here before – and we have been here before led here – by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.
We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives – only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors. American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.
We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives – only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as “Hyphenated Americans,” most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war. American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.
And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives – only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans…
While his man-in-charge…General DeWitt, told Congress: “It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen – he is still a Japanese.” American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did – but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.
Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons. And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.
Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased. Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.
And Roosevelt’s internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.
The most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.
In times of fright, we have been only human. We have let Roosevelt’s “fear of fear itself” overtake us. We have listened to the little voice inside that has said “the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass.” We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists. Continue reading »