when the government fears the people

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson


2 Responses to when the government fears the people

  1. David Miller says:

    ok so having watched this clip a few times, I’ve decided that I’m not impressed with the prospective interviewer or the Congressman. Initially, I was just disappointed by the Congressman, but then it occured to me that the interviewer didn’t demonstrate the basic courtesy of an introduction or an explanation of what agenda he was pursuing. It strikes me that it was at best a clumsy attempt to engage a stranger in dialogue. This doesn’t excuse the esteemed Rep. from NC. Clearly, he’s a thug. He makes no attempt at productive communication, and when he doesn’t get what he wants he resorts to bullying an apparently peaceful person.
    My point is that the interviewer damages his own case by failing to initiate the conversation in a respectful way. And I’m further frustrated by the apparent lack of self-consciousness in the clip or in its presentation of the students having been rude. Again this doesn’t excuse the Congressmen’s use of force, but it does make the clip feel fraudulent since the claim of the students’ seems to be that there was no provocation for the Congressman’s behavior. The honorable rep. for NC responded as any caveman might when challenged by something new and unfamiliar. My position is that anyone claiming not to be a caveman needs to realize that it was perfectly reasonable for Congressman Etheridge to feel poorly used by the stranger who called him out by name, and questioned him with a camera held up to his face for a reaction shot. If Etheridge had given the students the finger, I wouldn’t have faulted him in principle. He would have responded to a rude act with a rude act of his own. Not the best response, just as good as he was getting.
    I hate feeling compelled to make the argument to understand the likes of Etheridge. Indeed, I don’t think I am making that argument. I think what I’m saying is if you want to claim the high ground in a conversation you have to pursue the truth of the interaction and not simply your side’s advantage. I believe the truth in this instance is that both sides behaved badly. Definitely one was worse than the other, but neither lived up to my standard of how a free, moral agent should treat another free, moral agent. The clip demonstrates that there is at least one caveman in Congress. I’m urging that we, in thought and deed, be unworthy of being ruled by cavemen.

    • DSL. says:

      Somebody give that Miller feller A Blog of His Own. I haven’t forgotten his Bhutto email from 12/07. But I did, minutes ago, re-read it. Dude thinks for himself – thinks, period – cannot be bought, and can write. That’s an often lonely position for a writer to be in, but as a reader I’m honored.

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