This is what democracy looks like

09/10/03: A Readers Commentary 

I was in the crowd yesterday, among the thousands who trekked to the distant forbidding alien landscape known by many as Wall Street- to demonstrate among the frightened excluded angry prescient thousands-  standing and chanting in front of the building where the real George W once stood. 

Here is what I saw. 

Outside, on the steps of The Federal Building, there is a 15 foot tall bronze statue of the real George W in 1789. Wrapped in his enormous cloak, arms outstretched, talking to-  THE PEOPLE.  The real George is giving his most famous speech - caught in the act by the CNN of the time-  a sculptor. 

Above him, crouching on the parapets, and to his left and his right, are riot-gear laden camouflage wearing helmeted RIOT Police, with RK-15s slung at the ready, aimed at the crowd.  Should I repeat that ?  -- with RK 15s aimed at the crowd. At US. 

One of us -  a young black veteran, screams at them-   "What are you doing ?  We're "AMERICANS." 

I asked a Captain-  what the hell are those guys doing ?  Are they ready to SHOOT US?  WE are the enemy ? 

This is the fake George W's USA. 

This is what the real George had to witness yesterday from his place on the steps of Federal Hall
Rapid fire machine guns being trained on American people by American cops. And inside, neither the real George nor his people were allowed to attend a speech by one of our EMPLOYEES. 

Inside, a guy whose salary WE pay was refusing to let us hear him tell a group of cops and prosecutors and judges-  all of whom we ALSO PAY - who also work for US-  --  that what we had to fear was US. 

The real George's words -  spoken April 30, 1789 from those very steps, where ALL the people could hear him -- those words said :

"...the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.
Besides the ordinary objects submitted to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide how far an exercise of the occasional power delegated by the fifth article of the Constitution is rendered expedient at the present juncture by the nature of objections which have been urged against the system, or by the degree of inquietude which has given birth to them. Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good; for I assure myself that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an united and effective government, or which ought to await the future lessons of experience, a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen and a regard for the public harmony will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question how far the former can be impregnably fortified or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted..."
In other words-- We, the government, are elected by you, the people, to perform the tasks that you, the people, in your wisdom and profound understanding of what this country is- shall prescribe.
WE, the government, work for YOU, the people, and we deeply trust that YOU know better than all others, what should be done.

And inside -- spake John Ashcroft, who is to George Washington as Condoleeza Rice is to Martin Luther King--

NY Times:
The attorney general made clear that he believes the Justice Department's antiterrorism initiatives are fully in sync with the moral imperatives of God and country and that those who disagree may have failed to absorb the lessons of Sept. 11.
"Just two years have passed," Mr. Ashcroft said, "but already it has become difficult for some Americans to recall the shock, anger, grief and anguish of that day."

Roslynn R. Mauskopf, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said that despite the exclusive nature of the attorney general's audience, "the message goes far beyond the people in the hall." "The critics need to stop talking and start listening," she said. "The Patriot Act provides invaluable tools for fighting terrorism."

Back outside-

The real George wept bronze tears.
The riot cops stayed on full alert, RK 15s drawn against the crowd.
That's what democracy looked like yesterday.

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