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Article Specs

VxAcct: 1

Article ID: 5003

Section: wrenwalker

Age Group: Adult

Posted: December 30th. 2002

Views: 8200

The Once and Future Year...

by Wren

It's 2003! Well, it will be come Wednesday. Let's take a peek ahead to January 1st and see what my new Michael Moore desk calendar has lined up for that day, shall we? Hmmm..."Freedom of choice is a thing of the past."

Oh, Joy to the World.

Not a good thought with which to begin a new year, Michael. New Year's is supposed to be all about optimism, isn't it? You know: Out with the old and in with the new? That and lots of bubbly and indiscriminate hugging and good old-fashioned horn-tooting confetti-spitting cheer. And, of course, Dick Clark.

So I'll make a non-prognostic guess that Dick won't be inviting Michael to his New Year's Eve Rockin' Bash then. Michael, you're such a downer, babe. Go pop a cork of something and lighten up. Let us have our one brief and shining moment of abandoned denial. Check back with us on Thursday, January 2nd. After a few minutes with CNN or Fox News, I'm sure that you'll find us all quite sober again.

It is almost obligatory that every journalist on the planet write up some sort of years-end wrap-up piece. Good thing for you that I am not a journalist. Good thing for me, too. I wouldn't even know where to begin. Or end. Like Janus, the God who looks both into the past and into the future simultaneously, I can see both the wisdom in reviewing the former and the hope of looking into the later. The trouble is that unlike Janus -- who after all is a God -- I get dizzy from whipping my head back and forth. Rather than gazing serenely in both directions, I am torn between demonizing the events of the not so good old 2002 and idealizing the prospects of hopefully-better-than-that 2003. Or vise versa.

Perhaps I should lie down for a while. Just take a nap and let Dave Barry grab all of the 'this is the year that was' journalistic glory. Then when I get up, I could slink over to Barnes and Noble and get a different desk calendar. Something a bit more upbeat. Like Garfield maybe or Pooh. It'll probably even be at half-price.

Nope. It's too late. I've already seen it. "Freedom of choice is a thing of the past." Damn you, Michael Moore! Damn your cynical and tart little witticisms. What were you thinking? Starting a whole new year off with that? Now I have to think about it. Oh sure, they'll try to distract me with the Rose Bowl Parade and a bunch of nostalgic old movies, but you'll still be there. There in my head making me think about politics, corporate greed and the erosion of civil liberties instead of enjoying FOTR (again) and wondering what Sir Ian is wearing under that robe. (Did I just type that out loud?) Dammit, Michael Moore! You just couldn't leave it alone, could you?

So there is really only one thing left to do then. You've left me no choice. (No pun intended, but there it is.) I'm just going to have to invoke my pal Janus again. Now I admit to taking liberties (Oh, I am on a roll!) with this. I don't really know if it is something that Janus in fact does. But I am about to speak out of both sides of my mouth here when I say, "Gods Bless you, Michael Moore. And all of those like you, too! Gods bless all those who speak up."

For that is a choice. It's never been a popular one. Probably never will be. But it has ever been one of the foundations of our country's constitutional provisions. Oh, it's been battered a bit from time to time. During previous wars, loose lips were said to sink ships. Dissenters and protesters were taped, photographed, followed and hounded by the F.B.I. Today, courts are still wrangling over what words are too dirty to print or too hateful to say. But all in all, the right to speak and/or to print what one thinks and/or believes has been upheld. That is freedom. And that, my dear friend Michael, did not change on January 1, 2003.

But it could change on any day after that.

It could change if the American people allow the government to restrict it. It could change if less and less people make the decision to speak up. It could change if the media moguls continue to simply take dictation from the White House instead of doing their job of informing people about what is really happening across the globe.

It could change if the right to petition the government for the redress of wrongs is legislated away. It could change if simply questioning what is going on becomes an act of treason. It could change if next year, I can buy a Garfield or a Pooh desk calendar but not one from Michael Moore.

It didn't change today or come January 1st, but it could change next week or next month or next year. It could change at any time if we let it because of pressure. Or threats. Or claims of 'national security'. And most especially due to claims of national security, I think.

For just how secure can we still be if we are threatened by a few words here and there? How secure can our government be if a few voices raised in protest or dissent are deemed to be so dangerous that they must be silenced?

I think that we are bigger than that. I believe that America is braver than that. I think that we can withstand a little scrutiny over our motives around the world and I believe that we can weather a little dissent and even open protest at home.

So on this New Year's Day 2003, I am still a little bit more optimistic than my desk calendar would advise me to be. I believe that freedom of choice is not yet a thing of the past.

Not yet.

Happy New Year, Michael! Happy New Year, Everyone!

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, December, 30th., 2002



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