Thursday, November 16, 2006

Politi-flicks: Burden

It seems the big deal political Internet videos this week, the ones sucking all the air out of the room, are the citizen journalism exposes, on the spot videos of guys getting Tasered by cops, but I think the really significant clip getting webplays since Tuesday has been CNN Glenn Beck's Islamophobic asking of Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), now the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, to prove his patriotism.

What seems un-American is made real by the O'Reilly-wannabe, Beck, whom as reported previously by Media Matters:
Beck previously warned that if "Muslims and Arabs" don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West" and declared that "Muslims who have sat on your frickin' hands the whole time" rather than "lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head" will face dire consequences.

Check it out on the Media Matters page itself. Beck's most revealing moment:
No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I've been to mosques.

Some of my best get the picture. In a sense, Beck is just voicing the prejudices of the average American white guy who didn't have a big interest in international affairs before 9/11 but has developed a fearful one now. Money quote:
And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

He's a Democrat as well, so it goes without saying.

Ellison does an admirable job of standing up for himself without grandstanding, but Beck's question just seems so, well, un-American. In our country, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Beck's asking an newly elected African-American Congressman to prove his patriotism.

And that's what makes this clip so politically significant this particular week.

America is entering the crossroads. Two years from now we'll have a new Chief Executive-elect. Eight long years will wind down. And now that we've had five whole years to absorb the terrible events of that day, it's time to start asking ourselves what have we learned about our country?

It's time to start asking ourselves, who are the real patriots...

...and who's just afraid.

As always, Politi-flicks is cross-posted to The Daily Reel.


slick said...

You're right -- Beck comes across as un-American as they come, but you're wrong about one thing -- the burden of proof no longer falls on the prosecution. In today's screw-the-Constitution and fuck-the-Geneva-Convention era, if the government accuses you of being a terrorist, you are guilty. Guantanamo Bay anyone? Secret tribunals anyone? Brings up the HUAC hearings of the late 40s and 50s -- All it took was one "friendly" witness to point the finger, and the accused were branded "guilty" without the ability to defend themselves in a court of law. Back then, the $64 question was, "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" For today's world, the $64 question (now valued at about $500 after adjusting for inflation) is about the same -- "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of al Qaeda?" Slightly different question; same results.

Mark Netter said...

I'm hoping it changes come January with the new Congress (and new state legislatures). Let's see if the Dems start to fold on this key issue, or if we're actually beating back the tide of modern day McCarthyism.