Monday, September 11, 2006

Heroes of 9/11

The timorous reaction of the great mass of people in the United States to the 9/11 attacks is depressing. Are we really such sheep that a murderous piece of theater is enough to corral the whole herd of us off into authoritarian barbarism? Too often the answer seems to be "yes."

But the detritus of 9/11 has produced a few heroes. One of mine is Glenn Greenwald. Formerly a politically apathetic constitutional lawyer, he watched the Bush regime subvert the rule of law and sought to mobilize resistance, first through his blog, Unclaimed Territory, then in a little book titled How Would a Patriot Act?

If you've ever wanted to see a simple, cogent explanation of how extreme an attack our current regime is making on the rule of law, Glenn will tell you. And he doesn't stop with moaning and groaning. In his lawyerly way, he aims to move people. A sample of his call to action:

Ultimately, people will get the government they deserve. ... We now have a president who is claiming the power to break our laws and to act without any checks of any kind from the Congress, the courts, or the citizens. ...

Whether we will become a country in which the president can exercise unlimited power -- whether we will fundamentally change the type of nation that we are -- will be determined exclusively by whether we allow this behavior to continue.

Preach it, Glenn.

Sometimes I have quibbles with Greenwald. He holds on to what seems to me an exaggerated faith that the U.S. "liberties" he defends have always been available to all -- lots of people, many of them of color, would contest that. He also lets himself get drawn into controversy with the propaganda hacks of fascism who don’t even deserve refutation. And he at present seems to be accepting too readily the Bush regime's assertion that Iran is our next mortal enemy.

But Greenwald is refreshing because he is not afraid to claim the ground of moral principle for those who would restore the rule of law. His turn to activism in the face of tyranny is an example of post-9/11 heroism we could use more of.

2 comments:

Arcturus said...

While he's very good on the loss of civil liberties under Bush et al, he lost my respect when Israel invaded Lebanon (hardly the sole instance).

janinsanfran said...

Interesting. I wasn't following Glenn in those weeks. Sorry to hear that. Those of who saw the Israeli attack on Lebanon as a crime have a lot of work to do.

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