Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sci-Fi Mantra: Mal Reynolds

Lately, I find myself thinking of these words (spoken in the feature film, Serenity by Captain Reynolds):

"I aim to misbehave."

It sounds flip, but it isn't. What Mal is responding to in the film when he voices that particular thought is the need - indeed, the duty - to sometimes question - and push back - against overreaching governmental authority.

In the film, Mal discovers that his government, the Alliance, has created something called PAX, a pacification drug that Parliament believes will make the citizenry "better." (And also, no doubt - safer.) He sees it for what it is: a new way to "control" and consolidate power for the powerful.

This mantra comes up for me now, because last week I saw the most despicable comments repeated on television. I saw government officials in high office (and wannabe government officials) telling us that to be safe and secure, we have to think just like they do.

Worse, they compared American voters in Connecticut - American citizens, mind you - to the Taliban and Al Qaeda because they didn't like the voters' choice. This is a new lowpoint in political discourse, and it is crass, ugly manipulation. Sorry, but I don't want my government telling me that making a personal choice between two options in the voting booth is tantamount to treason and makes voters "terrorists" or even in league with terrorists. What actually happened in Connecticut? That's called democracy, folks. The voters spoke. For better of worse. Instead of respecting that fact - and I still can't believe I'm hearing this from major politicial figures in the U.S. - the message coming out of Washington D.C. following a foiled terrorist plot in the UK is that only one party is good and American, and that the other is the party of "Al Qaeda." On CNN, I heard an anchor actually question if Ned Lamont could be called "The Al Qaeda" Candidate. What the fuck?! I hasten to add, I would be just as offended if that CNN anchor had asked if Condi Rice could be called "The Al Qaeda" Secretary of State. Disagree with any of these people...but jeez...they aren't terrorists!

This inflammatory, ugly rhetoric is something every American, regardless of party, might very seriously think twice about. Yes, Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives differ on how to achieve national goals, but why can't these differences make us stronger in the War on Terror? Isn't it always better to have more ideas rather than less? What about IDIC, Infinite Diversity and all that stuff? Why must we be in brain-lockstep and define different philosophies as traitorous, appeasing and terroristic? Here's a radical idea: as Americans, we can believe different things, and learn from each other. As Americans we can believe different things, and still be cordial...and still help one another. Hell, as Americans we can believe different things and be...friends. I don't know about you, but when I have conversations with my friends who hold different beliefs, I inevitably learn something from them; or see things in a new way. I might ultimately reject those things or I might not, but in every case I'm stronger and better for having listened to and understood a different point of view.

I tell you, some Americans - and from every end of the political spectrum - are going to sic the (electoral) Reavers on all these bastards if the kind of inflammatory and divisive rhetoric emanating from the tube last week doesn't subside. I direct these remarks in particular to Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. Truly - they are the most craven politicians I've seen in my lifetime. I now call them the "vote for us or die horribly" bloc - and they are, individually, Republican AND Democrat.

And...they both suck.

As long as men like these control the bully pulpit of the corporate press and use it to cling to power by frightening people, I aim to misbehave and call them out for their crap. Bottom line folks: we can do better. I don't care if you vote Democrat or Republican come November, but please vote your heart and your gut and your brain, and throw the rotten, divisive bastards in both parties out. These jokers serve at our pleasure, so when the time comes, let's misbehave. We can have arguments, we can disagree, but Americans who exercise the right to vote as they wish are not and will never be terrorists. Can't we all - from both parties - at least agree on that?

Captain Reynolds would expect nothing less than some serious misbehavior. Only one thing left to say... "Miranda..."


  1. Daaaaamn straight.

    Just one argument ... don't call Joe Lieberman a Democrat anymore. When he decided that the will of party voters was inadequate, he became a rogue. The descriptor for Joe-mentum used to be DINO (Democrat In Name Only), but he just lost the right to use the name.

    As one wag on Daily Kos put it today (paraphrased), being an "independent Democrat" is like being an "agnostic Baptist."

    Funny how the most Mal Reynoldsian "misbehavin'" I can think of these days is exercising my right to vote in November. And speaking out. LOUDLY!

  2. Great post, John.

    You may be interested in this article, which begins to confirm stuff I've been thinking for a long time:

  3. Not that I was around at the time, but it sounds a lot like Hoover and his anti-Communists witch-hunts all over again.

  4. Thanks for writing about this John, I followed the Leiberman/Lamont race closely, even though I'm a New Yorker and I was thrilled and surprised that Lamont pulled it off!

    Notice how Lamont is NOT a one issue candidate. He's about Health care and the Minimum wage and no more Corporate handouts. Of course the media that chose to label him a terrorist overlook those things in his speech and focus on Joe "Sore" Loserman. And why not, I'm sure it helps out the media conglomorates to keep Joe in Washington and the money flowing.

    You aim to misbehave? So do I. Let do more than send a message in November, lets bring our country back from the brink.

    Thanks buddy!


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