September 4, 2008

Party of Big Brother

Today I was talking to my Republican friend, who said she couldn't read my blog because it would make her mad, which I fully understand and respect, but I figured if we were going to talk politics we might as well find some common ground, so I asked her about the RNC. "What do you think about all the civil rights violations and such?"

"I haven't heard about it," she said.

I gave a quick summary of the situation in St. Paul. If we'd been talking in real life instead of online, she would have been staring at me incredulously.

"The party isn't that stupid."

"Well, it's the St. Paul police, but still." I told her a few stories of excessive violence against private protestors, arrests without probable cause, intimidation of journalists, and other such fun before she had to log out. I wish she'd been able to stick around a bit longer - I found this fantastic article at Alternet on the topic.

John said he hasn't done any anti-war organizing -- "I'd like to" -- but since the arrival of the RNC and the protesters against it, he has been checking out the scene around town. "Yesterday I was just cruising around. I was in the Funk the War march -- they had this huge Gandhi statue and a globe …" But despite the mostly peaceful protests, when it comes to security, "it's been crazy." He showed me videos he'd taken on his phone while he skated around, lines of cops in riot gear -- "There was a bunch of people getting maced over there" -- and shots of the buses and unmarked minivans the police have used to detain people and take them away.

I asked him if he had been read his rights. "No, they didn't read me my Miranda rights at all. ... They cuffed me, and when I complained to one one guy about the cuffs being too tight, he was like, 'Oh yeah? Well, let me tighten that up for you.'"

The scariest parts to me are the unmarked vans taking all these people away. That's just a freaking creepy mental image, something out of 1984, not an American city.

Last night, Mitt Romney called the Democrats the "Party of Big Brother." Some day, I will write a big long post explaining exactly why this is bullshit. For now, I'll leave you with a quote.

"Americans need to watch what they say, what they do." -- Ali Fleischer, former White House press secretary.

Who's the party of Big Brother again?

No comments: