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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts

State of Dis-Union

Long version: mp3, 3.41 MBs, 4:07
Short version: mp3, 2.91 MBs, 3:34

[Col. Recorded 1/22/04]

There is something deeply disturbing about George W. Bush standing in the well of Congress, smirking out at his audiences.

Even though it is important that political commentators view the spectacle, I have studiously avoided it, because of the unpleasant feelings it evokes.

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 following lines:

Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year. The terrorist threat will
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.

Detroit's senior congressman, John Conyers, days after the voting, told a televised audience on BET that neither he, nor many of his colleagues, had even read
the bill!

Rushed, harried, fearful, under Justice Department pressure, they signed into law a sweeping measure that profoundly changes many areas of American law.

Amazing.

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.

Americans, 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.

Racist and xenophobic politicians played on American fear; and the fears became law.

There will 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
same views.

Despite claims 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
'jobless recovery.'

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.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2004 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.