Saturday, November 25, 2006


I have just watched a clip of Richard Dreyfuss on “Real Time with Bill Maher” over at Miss Mickey’s blog, Future Corpse. To use Miss Mickey’s words, Richard Dreyfuss’ words are “powerful and inspiring”. To me, Dreyfuss’ message was about taking personal responsibility. Here is some of what he said.

The clip started off with Dreyfuss pointing out that a fundamental problem is that we, the people, don’t really know what’s going on as far as what our government is actually doing and the reasons they have for their actions. He reminded us of something Dan Rather had said, that the press does not ask certain questions anymore. Dreyfuss expanded that to include the people, stating that we do not ask questions of our government.

Maher questioned whether people know anymore what civics is.

Drefuss defined civics as, “learning of the tools of maintaining a republican democracy.”

He pointed out that it was an idea held by the founding fathers that the people are sovereign. He then spoke about the problem of “who whispers in the sovereign’s ear,” which he defined as “Rupert Murdoch, the guy who owns Viacom and the guy who owns ABC.” And, of course, we don’t know if they also have their own agenda.

But back to personal responsibility…

“Unless the society stands against certain things, they will have endorsed certain things, like torture, leaving the Geneva Convention, and lying to the Congress about the reasons for war.”

Dreyfuss mentioned that the legislative and judicial branches of government have dropped the ball, that they are not doing “their duty” to keep the executive branch in check, to keep the president’s powers within a limited scope. Which will be even more dangerous for the future than it is for the present.

…and then back to civics and personal responsibility…

“You can actually learn the constancy of curiosity and the constancy of outrage. You can learn that it is okay to keep asking the questions and to be dissenters. And if you don’t, if you’re not taught it, then you don’t know it. But we owe ourselves and the United States that we will pass off to our children to relearn the tools of reason, logic, clarity, dissent, civility and debate. And those things are the non-partisan basis of democracy, and without them you can kiss this thing goodbye.”

I have nothing more to add.

The clip and Miss Mickey’s words are here.

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