Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The DNC Can't End Too Soon

I’m angry! I live on a small farm in Golden, Colorado, with a magnificent view of the towering North Table Mesa out our back window. This morning, the view was different (see the photo above). This is exactly the kind of nonsense that I feared would accompany the DNC circus in Denver this week.

The Chinese Olympics, happening as it did just before the two political conventions, gives us a great insight into the ways that protest fits into the national agenda in China and in the U.S. China had zero tolerance for protests during their Olympics, and the U.S. critics point to this as another sign of disregard for human rights in China. Meanwhile, here in Denver, we see zero outrage toward the protests, along with little or no control, and the champions of the red, white, and blue see this as a good thing. But my question is this, “Does it really violate human rights to enforce the local laws against disorderly conduct?”

I was born during WWII, so my America was the America of the late 1940s, and the 1930s were recent history to me. I’ve always believed that the United States achieved its greatness during that time, and has been slipping backwards ever since. Here’s the thing. If you took videos of the streets in China two weeks ago, and videos of the streets in Denver this week, and you somehow went back in time and showed both videos to Americans in the 40s and 30s, and you asked them which video scenes most looked like America—the people of that time would choose the scenes of China. Back when America was truly great, not just in our mythology, but also in the eyes of the world, the United States looked like China today. We actually had strong laws against disorderly conduct, and those laws were actually enforced, and human rights had its limitations.

But those days are gone, and now I get to look at the anti-abortion message on my mountain every day. I know from hiking on the very spot where those letters appear that they are all over 100 feet high. That message required the work of many people (perhaps as many as 10) to spray paint those words in just one night. We also know another thing. Anti-abortionists put their cause above the cause of the environment and natural beauty. It’s the agenda of the Christian right wing ultra-zealots. Gee, wouldn’t Jesus be proud!

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