Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, March 24, 2007


My hard drive died last night. In all the years I've worked on PCs - somehow this has never happened to me before. Perhaps because I always - always - made backups of backups, stashed absolutely everywhere a backed up file would stash.

I always acted on the subconscious fear that you could never really have enough backups. I was a consistent perpetrator of redundancy. I backed files onto disks, onto CDs, and stashed them into folders on our business server. I stashed our files on other PCs throughout our office; on my husband's PC, on zip disks, and on Macs.

You can never be too sure... right? I mean, who hasn't had the excruciating experience (anyone who has ever worked with these heartless, fickle machines,) of working on a project all day long, only to lose everything you've done - everything - in one earth shattering, electrical blip.

Sometimes it takes days to get 'it' back - or perhaps you never get it back. Sometimes it gets lost forever to the binary graveyard, or perhaps evaporates into the digital ether.

In recent months I finally let the backup vigilance slide. I don't know why, exactly. Maybe it was just time to ease up - or perhaps I was simply distracted, and too busy. Or perhaps I still shy away from anything that pertains to our old business.

Actually - the strangest part is that I never even noticed our increasing vulnerability, as we gradually lightened our load of aging electronic equipment from a bygone business life. We recently moved, and I guess I was just tired of lugging old, unused computers around from place to place. They are gone... and now, apparently, so are all the files.

Poof. Blood curdling scream.

I was pretty sure the world had ended. Years of data, graphics, code and templates from a former life. Snatches of writing - paragraphs I'd written and then stuck away for another day. Poetry - even a manuscript. All of it gone in a heartbeat.

Oh, I suppose its not a total loss just yet. Somewhere out there, a PC guru is working hard to retrieve the sum total of our computer lives, now buried in some digital graveyard on my frozen hard drive. I keep hoping he can work a modern data miracle.

But it wasn't long before I realized that if he doesn't - if he can't... I will live. My life will continue moving forward, somehow, without those files.

Perhaps in recent months, I've gained a bit of perspective.

Or perhaps the true lesson in loss came after I fled our home office in disgust, and settled down to watch Rory Kennedy's HBO documentary 'The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib."

I am still reeling... still recovering. Not from the computer crash. From what I saw last night.

The horror is still fresh today. What I have learned about my country, and the policies of those who run the show... inexpressible. The word 'evil' does apply here. By their works you will know them. And their works are now everywhere.

How many scandals - how much horror will it take, America?

Who are these people into whose hands we commended our national soul? They are a rot in the heart of our democracy.

I'm not talking about the soldiers - kids, really - caught up in the war machine and following the orders of superiors. They are trained to follow orders without out judging, without feeling. This is one of the virtues of boot camp, or so I've been sold.

No, I'm talking about those at the top; the masterminds who called the shots, designed the torture and abuse - then pointed judging fingers at the hapless foot soldiers below. Yes - the sociopathic cowards who shrugged off Geneva conventions on a whim; blinked off all responsibility for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians by shameful, brutal, and truly un-American means. And in a heartbeat... our integrity, our honor - gone, never to be regained.

Didn't we hang Saddam for just such abuse of power? Abuses that took place in that very complex? And whose idea was it that we surpass Saddam's hideous standards of torture, and carve out our very own dark reputation of cruelty and infamy?

Such hypocrisy is truly staggering.

The loss of mere data pales in comparison, in magnitude with the scenes I saw last night. I am ashamed, I am horrified, and I am deeply angered.

And I wonder.... when will come the justice, folks? When will come the justice.

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