Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Social Captive, Towing the Line like Calves to the Slaughter

Social Captive
Originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

"In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up". *

* Martin Niemöller 1892-1984.

"Stop complaining," said the farmer,**
"Who told you a calf to be"
Why don't you have wings to fly away
Like the swallow so proud and free?"

How the winds are laughing
They laugh with all their might
Laugh and laugh the whole day through
And half the summer's night.

Dona dona dona dona
Dona dona dona down
Dona dona dona dona
Dona dona dona down

Calves are easily bound and slaughtered
Never knowing the reason why.
But whoever treasures freedom,
Like the swallow must learn to fly

How the winds are laughing..."

** Dona Dona
(Original Yiddish words by Aaron Zeitlin and Shalom Secunda;
English translation by Arthur Kevess and Teddi Schwartz)

I had a dream last night. It was a frightening dream. We were coming home from choosing a bedspread for my bed. To my surprise, there was someone there already who was dressed like a maid folding the old bedspreads into squares. She looked at me with this disdainful look and said: "Your bed must be made according to regulations." A man was standing by her with a long pony tail, like some Hun. Just earlier we had heard on the news that every home in America was required to have a portrait of a certain national hero prominently displayed in the house, and those new not having that portrait could be arrested. This man had a copy of that portrait in his hand. I remember feeling revolted and angry. My mother and I walked up to him, and I asked him indignantly: "Who are you to decide what can go up on my wall?" "I am the block captain." he replied. "And you'd do better not to oppose me, 'cause I can cause you a whole lot of trouble. You've got to show your support, or we'll take you away!", he continued. He gave every indication that he was a member of some secret police, and gave me a glare that would scare Genghis Khan. He hung up the portait. Then he left. My mother was livid. "Let's get rid of this!" she yelled. But I restrained her because I saw the picture morph into one of Josef Stalin! i told her: "Mom we can't do that, or we'll both be taken away!" Last I remembered we were eating supper and Stalin was staring back at me.

So CBS is afraid to put on the commercial of a liberal Christian church protesting the discrimination in this country against gays and lesbians. Here is the exact wording of a letter that CBS sent to the United Church of Christ regarding it's "Night Club" commercial, that shows what it looks like if every church had a bouncer excluding all "undesirable" people (minorities, heretics, Christian and political, etc) and among the people excluded was a man who may have been gay. The commercial concluded that Christ would not have wanted this, and would've included everyone who came:

"CBS/UPN Network policy precludes accepting advertising that touches on and/or takes a position on one side of a current controversial issue of public importance. Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations, and the fact that the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the Networks.

While moot, we must advise that CBS/UPN does accept advertising from churches and religious organizations which
deliver secular messages that are beneficial to society in general. Nevertheless, advertising that proselytizes on behalf of any single religion is not acceptable. In our view, this commercial does proselytize."

So now CBS will toe the line. "Advertising that proselytizes on behalf of any single religion is not acceptable" is a very dangerous concept. Why not add: "Advertising that proselytizes on behalf of any single political philosophy is not acceptable"? Why not go on to: "Programming that proselytizes on behalf of any single political philosophy is not acceptable"? So now there are "religiously acceptable" forms of behavior? A Fahrenheit 451 scenario? It looks like it. Perhaps we should all be like sheep, meekly accepting our lot and not say anything "controversial". It's alright to portray "acceptable ideas" like violence, sex, and the mindless "people zoo" called "reality TV", but speak up for one particular thought, take up a position, speak on behalf of a group is now downright "offensive"? What others may call "offensive", I call democracy. If we allow this censorship to continue we will be no more than calves ready for the slaughter. "Dona Dona Don" anyone? How sad it would be if this country, so proudly born to freedom, should fall so low as to become a land fit for serfs and dictators. Our media have become like those calves meekly going to the slaughter, bending low to avoid the lash. Our society may soon follow, and whither democracy then?

You know, that United Churches in Christ spot reminds me of any one of the United Negro College Fund's commercials. Aren't they "proselytizing"? Aren't they speaking out on behalf of a certain group against a social evil? Think about it. What was so controversial about the message the UCC ad portrayed? All it did was portray the bigotted arrogance of some of the so-called "Christian" churches, and that Christ wouldn't have stood for that. It simply said: "This is what we are against, and here is what we are for. If you feel the same way, here is a place for you."

Anyone who wants to protest CBS's actions should go to this link:

People For The American Way petition for United Churches in Christ

United Churches in Christ "Night Club" ad

Fax From CBS to United Churches in Christ given to PFAW

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