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Showing posts from April, 2009

The Role of Secrecy in a Democracy

One of the things that I think we will need to tackle in order to ensure that this country never again tortures is to think about the role of secrecy in a democracy. Last week I wrote a bit about the fact that, especially since the Cold War, our intelligence services have routinely been engaged in torture. The one difference between those incidents and the Bush administration is that the later had the hubris to make it official policy and tried to give it a ridiculous cloak of legality. Under previous administrations, it was practiced with even more secrecy and often took decades for the amount of information we know to become public. It seems to me that there is an inherent contradiction between democracy - a form of government that is based on an informed citizenry - and secrecy. And I think the very nature of giving power to human beings to operate in secret is almost guaranteed to produce abuses of that power. If our intelligence services are allowed to continue to operate in sec

Another narrative

Its been pretty clear to me for awhile now that I seem to be looking at the world through a different lens than many who blog here these days. I've been taking some time to think and reflect about that these last couple of weeks and have been helped in that process tremendously by a couple of diaries NCrissieB wrote at dkos titled Religion as Politics, Politics as Religion and Religion, Politics and Big Narratives . In these, she describes our tendency to create Big Narratives that provide "global, unifying lenses through which to view the events in our lives." But here's the problem: ...we meet difficulty when Big Narratives collide. When two people or groups are constructing experience through different narratives, it seems as if they inhabit different worlds. Each can easily think the other out of touch with reality, when the problem is that each is out of touch with the others' narrative. They've gone through life writing different stories, along diff

Renewal Questions

I'm not a religious person. But the Easter holiday still means a lot to me in the sense that it's about spring, renewal, rebirth, and the return of the light. I've lived a lot of places - almost all areas of this country and a couple of stints overseas. But I've never lived anywhere that spring is as important as it is here in Minnesota. I would imagine that the reasons for that are obvious, even to those who don't live in the "tundra." While we haven't seen the green around here yet - the anticipation is palpable. During the years I lived in Florida and Southern California, I remember that the passage of the seasons was hardly noticeable. And, while I appreciated the general warmth that prevailed, there was something in me that missed this moment of anticipation followed by the burst of reality. So in the spirit of the day, I looked up the definition of renewal and this is the one that stood out to me. filling again by supplying what has been us