Why do they have those," my daughter wondered. It's funny, but I think it's because people here are really proud that Americans have a President who is so smart, so much smarter than Bush. I think it also means a lot to them that Americans seem to have put centuries of racism aside to elect a Black man too. It seems hopeful, like maybe things can get better."But when I woke up this morning, I got one of those creepy feelings in the pit of my stomach, like the nightmare I had about monsters under my bed wasn't just a nightmare. That it was true. It started with Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, as my nightmares often do. Last Sunday, Cheney' confessed to torture on ABC's "This Week." "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" keeps playing out in my head, the smugness over a technique that Barack Obama and every other person except the Bushies has defined as TORTURE made the monsters under the bed rattle and roar. Days after Cheney's creepy confession to torture, the Obama Justice Department ruled "no misconduct" in the torture memos. So the Cheney Monster and its spawn will probably never be contained. Palin is somehow nearly as creepy. I got a FB announcement from her this weekend ( I and 12,000 other people are her Facebook "friends"): "Global warming? More like a snow job"
Over the last few months, and even again today, very unsettling revelations have come to light about the “settled science” of man-made global warming... there’s been no significant warming since 1995; that the medieval period may have been warmer than today... The man-made global warming hysteria isn’t based on sound science, and the Obama administration’s energy policy isn’t based on sound economics. If the climategate revelations teach us anything, it’s that we need to cool down the rhetoric and fire up our common sense.Faced with the nightmare of stupidity that is Palin, I try to retreat into my own little academic world, the ivory tower, although we all know where a lot of the Bushies went, the writers of torture memos, the defenders of unilateral wars. In my professional association's newsletter, there is good news. The Obama administration has restored academic freedom. According to the American Sociological Association, the State Department has ruled that South African Professor Adam Habib will finally be allowed to reapply for a visa.
In a major victory for academic freedom and civil liberties, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed orders that effectively end the exclusion of a prominent scholar who was barred from the United States by the Bush administration, and who the American Sociological Association (ASA) had invited to participate in the 2007 ASA Annual Meeting in New York. During the Bush administration, the U.S. government denied visas to dozens of foreign artists, scholars and writers — all critics of U.S. foreign policy and many of whom are Muslim — without explanation or on vague or unspecified national security grounds.Oh good. Academic freedom is restored. Except I also get this news from my colleague Lynn Owens. A prominent scholar, author, and anarchist, Gabriel Kuhn, was denied a visa on the new Homeland Security online preauthorization system. Given that Kuhn has traveled to the US many times before and was coming to speak at universities and bookstores about his two new books, he thought it was a mistake and applied again. Kuhn was denied twice. According to a statement made by my colleague,
We are losing the ability to move and act freely in this world, all under the guise of making us ‘safer.’ As someone who studies the role of travel, movement, and border crossings in the construction of social movements and political activism, I can tell you that programs like the unaccountable ‘No Fly List’ will have a serious effect on the possibilities... to build and maintain connections...”Here's the thing about nightmares. You have to wake up from them. You have to make sure the monsters aren't lurking under the bed, in the closet, behind the curtains. That never happened. The Bushies were never held accountable because the change Obama represented was rhetorical, symbolic- a souvenir license plate at a kiosk half way around the world. Not unimportant. But not the sort of change that would have ended torture and illegal wars, prosecuted those responsible, ensured freedom of thought and ideas and critique, and allowed us- Americans and all the people of the world, to finally have peaceful dreams.