Friday, July 13, 2007

Another blast from the past

Damn. I'd forgotten all about this exchange, during the Iran-Contra hearings back in the summer of 1987 (July 13th, to be exact):
REP. BROOKS: Colonel North, in your work at the NSC, were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the "continuity of government" in the event of a major disaster?

SEN. INOUYE: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch on that, sir?

REP. BROOKS: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was the area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.

SEN. INOUYE: May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I'm certain arrangements can be made for an executive session.
Like Sam Husseini, I also found that among other exchanges during the Iran-Contra hearings left me markedly changed. At the time, I still naively believed that a Democrat-led Congress would finally put the criminally insane Raygun regime out to pasture. About mid-way through the hearings, I'd be screaming a plethora of profanities and obscenities at the TV or the radio (if I was in my car, on the way to this dead-end telemarketing job I'd then just started) in anger. Oliver North, who should have spent the rest of his sorry existence rotting in a cell in the Hague, was barely slapped on the wrists, as were the other players (e.g. Poindexter) involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. With very few exceptions (Sam notes Reps. Brooks and Gonzales, both Texans), the Dems seemed more like Vichy collaborators than anything else. Since then I've always held a deep suspicion of the Dems (don't even get me started on the other War Party, as I refuse to have anything to do with a party whose ideology closely resembles that of far-right-wing National Front parties in Europe).

The seeds for radicalism had already been sown some years before, what with some of what I'd been reading at the time, as well as my growing interest and later involvement in the punk/hardcore scene. I'd already been pretty much anti-draft and anti-war since my mid-teens, and already harbored some interest in third parties. As of the start of the summer of 1987 I identified myself as a Democrat, albeit a very liberal one. After the Iran-Contra hearings, that changed and there was no turning back. I could no longer in good conscience place blind faith in the Democrat party. Granted the sort of radicalism that I embraced two decades ago had a distinctly Eurocentric color to it, basically existentialism-tinged anarchism with a willingness to show some solidarity with the Sandinistas, and other Marxist-leaning movements. I've been drifting away from that Eurocentric bias in recent years thanks to the help of some good friends and acquaintances - but that's a work in progress that really should be another story for another day.

Hat tip to A Tiny Revolution.

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