Labelling “terrorists”

 

This whole Greenwald post is worth a read, but I couldn't let this paragraph go by without appropriating it for my blog:

It's not really "complex" to understand this:  the fact that the U.S. Government accuses someone of X does not mean that they are actually guilty of X. 
That's true even where "X = Terrorist."  That's why, in America, we
have these things called "trials" and "due process."  Sometimes
the Government is wrong.  Sometimes it is inept.  Sometimes it is
corrupt and tyrannical.  Therefore, these things we call "checks" are
necessary before we assume that Government accusations are true and
before we allow the Government to put people into cages for life.  We
don't actually know that someone is a "Terrorist" until a trial, with
due process, establishes that the Government's accusations are true.  

Is
that such a difficult concept to understand?  This isn't actually a new
or exotic idea for the United States.  It's actually about as
fundamental to the American founding as an idea can get.  Thomas Jefferson articulated it pretty clearly in a 1789 letter to Thomas Paine:  "I
consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man,
by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution
."

 

Not about Obama’s Inauguration

After not blogging at all for over a month, only to reappear on January 19, you'd think I'd reappear to share my thoughts on Obama's Inauguration.  I should, but maybe another time.  Obviously, I've been pretty useless as a blogger lately.  I don't have any particularly good reasons other than that it just hasn't been in me.  I've been getting as worked up as ever by the news (especially things on the torture front–prosecute those bastards!!), but somehow just haven't felt like putting fingers to keyboard on the matter.  So, why am I back today?

I'm back because my mom died today.  This blog would simply not exist without her (other than the fact, that I would not have been born).  My mom has been my political inspiration for most of my life, until sometime in graduate school when I realized I actually knew more about politics than her.  (And it took a long time after that for the rest of my family to admit that I was capable of my own, independent political opinions).  Who I am politically is as much a result of my mom than anything else.  When I always wanted to see the world in black and white, my mom would show me the nuance.  My concern for other people, especially those less fortunate, stems directly from my mom.  My realization that, no, I and other well-off people don't deserve all our fortune, but have been incredibly lucky and should therefore share our good fortune, came from my mom.  Heck, as I like to often tell the story, my very dissertation was inspired by my mother.  My dissertation sought to explain why some people who seemed to be partisan through-and-through would still label themselves an "Independent."  That was most definitely my mom, who would have insisted to the end that she was an Independent, despite never voting for a Republican for anything higher than county dog-catcher over the past 40 years.  I've often felt that that if not for my mom, I probably would have been quite conservative politically, as my personal nature can be quite conservative.  My mom helped me to look beyond myself in seeing the world, politically and otherwise.

My mom was also the earliest and strongest fan of this blog.  Often times in thinking what to write about and then in the post itself, my mom would be my imagined audience.  To do a little self- analysis, I do think the blog decline at least partially reflects the fact that I knew my mom was no longer in the health to keep reading it.

So, thanks Mom.  As for what to expect from the blog, I don't know.  I can be pretty sure that till I finally knock out the Parenthood and Politics manuscript which is supposed to be done in 2 weeks and won't be, you won't see much from me here.  After that, check back, as I do sincerely hope that I "have it in me" again and can be back it just as strongly as if I had George W. Bush to kick around.

 

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