Wednesday, September 15, 2004

You Have the Right to Remain Chattel...

This one's been eating at me for weeks, now. In response to complaints about the dangerous and filthy conditions of the "little Guantanamo freedom prison" that was set up to hold people picked up by police in NYC during the RNC convention, Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "it's not supposed to be Club Med."

What he omits is what it is supposed to be. I'd wager it's not supposed to be a filthy, rat-infested, cancer-causing, rash-inducing hell hole, either.

The implication of the mayor's statement is that your life and health have no value, under any circumstances. If you are detained for any reason, valid or not, you are expendable, so there is no need to keep you safe, healthy, or even alive. You have no worth.

Think about that.

If you were picked up for simply walking down the street near your home, having committed no crime, Mayor Bloomberg thinks you deserve to be smeared in rash-inducing chemical goo, deprived of food and water, exposed to one of the worst cancer-causing agents known to man, and to have the nerves in both hands damaged - possibly permanently. For days on end. Without being charged with any crime. Without the right to call a lawyer. Without the ability to let your family, or anyone know where you are.

Mayor Bloomberg thinks it's just dandy to allow a man whose colostomy bag burst to sit on a bus and vomit uncontrollably for hours, leading to potentially life-threatening complications. Just because he was picked up by the police.

Mayor Bloomberg thinks it's OK for people to be denied the medications they need, just because they've been arrested.

Mayor Bloomberg isn't tough on crime. Mayor Bloomberg is tough on the constitution.

In Mayor Bloomberg's America, you have no rights before being arrested and you have no rights after you're arrested, even if you're arrested for no reason at all. Most of the people arrested did not commit any crime. That bears repeating: most of the people caged in the "little Guantanamo freedom prison" did not commit any crime.

The few who did commit "crimes," committed such terrible acts as riding their bikes in a way that blocked traffic (though moving out of the way for emergency vehicles). Most were arrested with no charges at all. Many were simply rounded up in a net (literally) while walking down the sidewalk, or through a park.

Welcome to the Brave New World of 1984 (oops! 2004), where every citizen has the right to be worthless, obedient chattel. This is the right-wing world of George Bush's cronies - coming soon, to a home near you. You won't be left out.


Blogger Jessica said...

I think it's more about a scare tactic than how they treated those individuals (to the Repubs I mean). If people are scared to voice their opinion because they are afraid of being imprisoned, they have just silenced those people, and that's what they want.

9:03 AM  
Blogger rhetoretician said...

I agree Jessica.

I also think it's a trial run to determine (a) just how much injustice Americans are willing to tolerate in the name of "safety" and (b) how compliant the media really are in instances when the government seriously oversteps its bounds.

I think we have our answer.

My father, whose news comes exclusively through the mainstream media had NO idea about the conditions at Little Guantanamo, nor the police dragnets, nor the mistreatment of prisoners.

7:46 PM  

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