Monday, June 28, 2004

Juan Cole on The Patriot Act
In his review of Fahrenheit 9/11, Juan Cole has some trenchant observations on the Patriot Act.
The interview with Michigan congressman John Conyers in which Conyers reveals that no one in Congress was allowed to read the Patriot Act before voting on it was breathtaking. I recently sat next to Conyers on a plane, and he explained to me that the final version of the bill, which had been very extensively changed, was delivered the night before the vote. He said it wasn't strange for a few minor changes to be made at such a late stage, but that it was his impression that virtually a new bill was dropped on the hapless Congress at the last moment. It is huge, and would have been impossible to read all the way through with attention under those circumstances.

The Patriot Act is so radical a departure from the American Civil Liberties tradition that if its most radical provisions are made permanent, as Bush desires, I think it would be legitimate to date from 2001 the Second American Republic. It is a much impoverished republic compared to the first, and ominously intertwined with Imperial themes. If Moore makes anyone angry about anything, I hope it is this.
That fits with what I've been thinking about the state of American democracy, sad to say. I haven't seen a Michael Moore film since "Roger and Me," and didn't care for "TV Nation," but if Moore can effectively make this point to enough people, his excesses may be worth it. I'm beginning to get psych'ed to go see "Fahrenheit 9/11" myself.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?