Monday, December 04, 2006

Save Finca Vigia!

Ernest Hemingway spent most of the last third of his life in a house in Cuba that he called the “Finca Vigia.” Over the years, that house has deteriorated to the point that major restoration work and repairs are needed to maintain it as a Hemingway museum. An article on MSNBC notes that the Bush administration has blocked American monetary and material assistance that would help rehabilitate and repair the house, alleging that it would help support the Cuban government, thereby violating the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba.

Occasionally I think that we’ve certainly gotten to a point where Bush and his minions cannot possibly behave in a more ignorant and ruthless way than they already have done; and then something like this comes along, and I realize that there is truly no limit to how literally he will read every word of every law, without ever taking the time to try to understand what was written between the lines. This is another danger of conservative thinking, and it is folly; no law could ever be written that could possibly envision every scenario that might ever come up that would require its application.

Thus the reason for an entire branch of government that exists in order to interpret laws. Times change, people change, values change, and laws therefore have to change - or at least be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the spirit in which they were written (conservative) but also applicable to the changing times (liberal - sometimes you can have both at once and it actually works). When judges make decisions like this, they are labeled as “activist,” for trying to usurp the will of the people. This is not what they are trying to do; they are trying to reconcile laws that were written in one time, and under one set of circumstances, with modern events that sometimes radically fail to correspond with those events that caused the laws to be written as they were in the first place.

I hate to cut this short, but I always manage to run across these little items just as I’m getting ready to do something else - in this case hang out with Scott one last time before he goes back to Florida. I suspect I’ll have more on it later, but I just wanted to throw it out there now, before I forgot about it. Regardless of what you think of Hemingway as a person - misogynist, alcoholic, shooter of animals - his writing stands as a pillar of American literature, and his memory and legacy deserve better than this.

No comments: