Inching Toward Authoritarianism
Posted on Feb 24, 2006
ALLISTER SPARKS: It resonates. This is why I’m just so distressed and angry at the United States. I mean, this is a country that has held itself out as a paragon of democracy and decency, standing for all the good things. And it’s been the model that we’ve all supposed to watch and admire. I first went to the United States when John F. Kennedy was President. And I spent a Nieman year at Harvard. And there was an idealistic spirit in the air. And look where it is now. I mean, how much idealism is there about what is being done in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay?
I mean, this is disgusting stuff. This is the kind of stuff that disgusted me about my own country and rendered me—in my first book, I said that, you know, in my long career of reporting this, I had never known or experienced the emotion of patriotism. That’s how I felt about my country. And when it was—when we transformed, I felt personally cleansed. And now I see a country that I’ve admired all my life descending to these depths, and I’m appalled. That’s all I can say. I find it personally - I just find it hugely distressing. I’m always encouraged—I have a lot of friends in the United States—and I’m encouraged that many of them are distressed, too. But, you know, what has happened to the moral quality of your country? It’s a profoundly distressing thing. And it doesn’t seem to be getting better.
Full interview transcript (and video)