While he’s admittedly no Superman, Crooks&Liars has the video of Olbermann’s castigation of Donald Rumsfeld for his remarks yesterday. And while his point about the presumed “omniscience” and infallibility of any government is well taken, I’d like to reprint his direct reading of Edward R Murrow’s comments; they are the most salient point of the entire clip. (C&L said to copy and share it, so I’ve Youtubed it and put it here.)
These words should be taken to heart by all Americans not just now, but always, and taught to children in history classes. Sometimes, I fear, we mistake a collection of historical facts for the spirit, the atmosphere in which those facts occurred, or in which important events took place.
“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” Murrow said, in 1954.
“We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.
“We will not walk in fear – one, of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men;
“Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were – for the moment – unpopular.”
Murrow could have been speaking of anything: religious persecution, racial discrimination, gay rights, pick a cause. Progress is never made by complacency, but by necessity and the will to rebuff the injust actions or beliefs of our fellows. And while mistakes have been, and will continue to be made in the name of “progress,” that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting.