Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
There is something
deeply disturbing about George W. Bush standing in the well of Congress,
smirking out at his audiences.
it is important that political commentators view the spectacle,
I have studiously avoided it, because of the unpleasant feelings
I watched it
for a few minutes, however, and was surprised to be surprised about
what I saw.
It was a classic
moment, one surely missed by the millions who relied on written
reports of the event. George, surely not the world's best speechmaker,
was revving up on the infamous Patriot Act, and he delivered the
of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year. The terrorist threat
not expire on that schedule ... You need to renew the Patriot Act.
What was lost
in the written text, was the congressional reaction. When Bush delivered
the line saying the Act was set to expire, a significant number
of congresspeople applauded that fact. Bush seemed momentarily rattled,
then glared at those applauding, as he tried to make his main point
(the next line). By that time, congressional Republicans caught
on, and began out-clapping those who applauded his first line.
It was a moment,
true, but it reflected the truth that there are significant divisions
and disunions, in American society.
For many people,
the provisions of the Patriot Act, among them the abrogation of
the 4th Amendment 'guarantee' against unreasonable search and seizure,
are terrifying. That Amendment, is now only good for history books.
Nor can we
forget how it came to pass; a frightened, harried Congress, fearful
from an apparent anthrax attack, rushed the bill through, at the
urging of the US Justice Department, fearful of the political repercussions
if they didn't.
congressman, John Conyers, days after the voting, told a televised
audience on BET that neither he, nor many of his colleagues, had
fearful, under Justice Department pressure, they signed into law
a sweeping measure that profoundly changes many areas of American
Yet, with the
Administration using the ultimate 'weapon of mass destruction'
fear, the nation, deeply divided, seems on the brink of even greater,
and more terrible change.
when fearful, are ever capable of doing great and terrible things.
The now-shameful forced relocation of thousands of Japanese citizens
to concentration camps, and the confiscation of their properties,
still haunts the nation.
xenophobic politicians played on American fear; and the fears became
come a time, even if it takes years, perhaps decades, when the forced
confinement of Arabs in this country and in the Guantanamo Gulags
will elicit the
of Iraqi 'liberation', within hours of the address CIA reports surfaced
suggesting the nation faces a very real threat of Civil War, along
the fault lines
of faith and ethnicity, for the Shiites, who comprise nearly 60%
of the Iraqi population, have been waiting for over a generation
to flex their political muscles. The
US occupation has opened the way to potential chaos there and throughout
the region. We may, in a matter of months, be watching the emergence
of a Shia state, that rivals its neighbor, Iran.
And while millionaires
thrill at their games of chance on Wall Street, average Americans
are twisted with anxiety over what some economists have called a
As for Bush's
claim to America's "mission", nations the world over have
some idea of that "mission", and most have rejected it,
outright, as New Age Imperialism
The State of
the Union, is Disunion.
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2004 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.