Except I feel slightly smarter than all those who still haven't realized it. Which is, like, 99.99%
So I got that going for me.
This piece about police brutality at the Occupy protests at UC Davis is a sad reminder of how lightly many in the US hold the values of free expression that our country was founded on. The opening photo in the story below reminds me of Hannah Arendt's comments about "the banality of evil."
You wonder whether these people think when they look at the photos and videos of their actions, and what they think about the judgment of history. I remember 30 years ago, we all watched Richard Attenborough's Gandhi and wondered how the British could have committed the atrocities they did. (The memory of the scene in which the protesters march up to the factory gate two by two, expecting and enduring the moment when they will be clubbed down, still brings a lump to my throat.) Now we know.
As +Keith Fahlgren (@abdelazer) said on Twitter: "YouTube sure makes it easy to hate the police." And that's a terrible thing for a society, when those whose job it is to protect the values of our society turn against it.
There's a moving and courageous denunciation of the actions by the UC Davis administration by an assistant professor there that is well worth a read:
After a detailed description of what happened, Nathan Brown focuses on the cognitive dissonance between the statements of the university and its actions:
"On Wednesday November 16, you issued a letter by email to the campus community. In this letter, you discussed a hate crime which occurred at UC Davis on Sunday November 13. In this letter, you express concern about the safety of our students. You write, “it is particularly disturbing that such an act of intolerance should occur at a time when the campus community is working to create a safe and inviting space for all our students.” You write, “while these are turbulent economic times, as a campus community, we must all be committed to a safe, welcoming environment that advances our efforts to diversity and excellence at UC Davis.”
"I will leave it to my colleagues and every reader of this letter to decide what poses a greater threat to “a safe and inviting space for all our students” or “a safe, welcoming environment” at UC Davis: 1) Setting up tents on the quad in solidarity with faculty and students brutalized by police at UC Berkeley? or 2) Sending in riot police to disperse students with batons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas guns, while those students sit peacefully on the ground with their arms linked? Is this what you have in mind when you refer to creating “a safe and inviting space?” Is this what you have in mind when you express commitment to “a safe, welcoming environment?”
"I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience—including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so. There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation."
Funny that. When people say that about Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists, they tend to get shouted down or accused of blaming the victim.
Sure, we could focus on the UC Davis situation, but it's just one instance of brutality and abuse in a growing pattern. Oakland, Tampa, New York, Seattle -- all have documented evidence of police turning into vicious, blood-thirsty thugs and no one in our so-called leadership is doing a damn thing about it.
If all this were taking place in some other part of the world, we would already have a carrier task force deployed off their shore.
You are livestock. Wake up.
Tonight, you had a guest. And when you interviewed him for 6 minutes, you interrupted him 10 times. Seriously. 10 times.
It's an open secret that you take pride in maintaining more journalistic integrity than the major networks do. But should you really interrupt a guest once every 36 seconds? It's very hard not to perceive that as an agenda.
And, by the way, when Judge Andrew Napolitano said "we live in a tyranny of the majority" you replied "no, that's not true" and "I think that's absolutely right" within about 5 seconds of each other. (0:25 into the episode during the broadcast) So while I'm amused at your continued observations on the flip-flops of Cain or Romney or any other political figure, I think perhaps that you ought to look in the mirror and see if you really are the kind of intellectual we need in the world.
You've succumbed to the temptations of fame, man. Face it and get back to the self-judgment that made you the perfect man for the job in the first place. Those of us still thinking need you desperately.
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YouTube - Mutually Assured Destruction vs Mutually Assured Respect
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