Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Class Act

On Monday, I heard Richard Clark speak at the Commonweath Club of San Francisco. What a breath of fresh air. He does not treat the audience like morons. He describes complex situations in complex ways. For instance, on the news about "extraordinary rendition" - the practice of moving captives covertly from one country to another in order to keep them in custody - he pointed out that captives who are truly dangerous cannot just be released, like a trout. He was adamant that torture was absolutely not acceptable under any circumstances but that just releasing dangerous captives who cannot be successfully held in the country of capture was not really an option. I did not really agree, but his point was thoughtfully articulated.

At the end of the evening he was asked a question about John Stewart and the Daily show. The question was "what do you talk about when the mike is cut?" This was his answer.

I made a trip to South Africa when they still had apartheid. While there I made a point of visiting with Helen Suzman who for many years was the only member of parliament speaking out against apartheid. Suzman replied "I should thank you. Because, in this struggle, knowing that there are supporters like you keeps me from feeling that I am insane." So that is what I told John Stewart. When I am being attacked from all sides by members of the Bush administration, The Daily Show keeps me from feeling that my convictions are insane.

I like that.


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