Boston Legal - Stick It

Alan Shore/James Spader's commentary on what America has become
Season 2 Episode 19 Called "Stick It"
Written by David Kelly
Broadcast Date was March 14th 2006

 

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Alan Shore (James Spader) from Boston Legal gives one of those great monologues that we all wished would be said by somebody other than a great actor. In the episode "Stick it," Alan Shore's secretary, Melissa (Marisa Coughlan), is arrested for tax evasion, he takes on the case of this outspoken girl who says her late, patriotic grandfather would be proud of her for challenging the government.

Shore: At a presidential rally, parade or appearance. If you have on a supportive t-shirt you can be there. If you're wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed, This in the United States of America.- This in the United States of America! Is Melissa Hughes the only one embarrassed?

"James Spader's character gives such a fiery and passionate speech about the lies, mistruths and unethical behavior of this Administration that it made me jump from the couch and yell triumphantly at my TV. Covered everything from lies on WMD, to torture, Abu Ghirab, Guantanamo, and, most importantly, illegal wiretapping"

Compared to Iraqi "insurgents" our complacency seems disheartening. Maybe it will take more than overt crimes against people far off before the truth hits home. Maybe the goal is not truth but suffering. Maybe when the entire system of repression is in place and rolling, and the oppressed begin to clearly see the extent of their oppression, maybe then… Maybe.

A further note. Melissa Hughes, the character James Spader is defending has been charged with the "non-crime" of tax evasion. In case you never heard: the federal income tax, as much else, is unconstitutional.

Famous Adlai Stevenson Quotes:

The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak, of anti-communism. ~ Adlai Stevenson's speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952); as quoted in "Democratic Candidate Adlai Stevenson Defines the Nature of Patriotism" in Lend Me Your Ears : Great Speeches In History (2004) by William Safire, p. 81

The whole notion of loyalty inquisitions is a national characteristic of the police state, not of democracy. The history of Soviet Russia is a modern example of this ancient practice. I must, in good conscience, protest against any unnecessary suppression of our rights as free men. We must not burn down the house to kill the rats. ~Adlai Stevenson voicing opposition to the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950

It was always accounted a virtue in a man to love his country. With us it is now something more than a virtue. It is a necessity. When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect. Men who have offered their lives for their country know that patriotism is not the fear of something; it is the love of something. ~Speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952); as quoted in "Democratic Candidate Adlai Stevenson Defines the Nature of Patriotism" in Lend Me Your Ears : Great Speeches In History (2004) by William Safire, p. 81 - 82

 


 

Alan Shore's closing argument


Alan Shore: When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out to be not true, I expected the American people to rise up. Ha! They didn't.

Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to regimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorists suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.

And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidentially, we haven't.

In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial - or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.

There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people seem to notice.

Well, Melissa Hughes noticed. Now, you might think, instead of withholding her taxes, she could have protested the old fashioned way. Made a placard and demonstrated at a Presidential or Vice-Presidential appearance, but we've lost the right to that as well. The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest.

Stop for a second and try to fathom that.

At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you are wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

This, in the United States of America. This in the United States of America. Is Melissa Hughes the only one embarrassed?

*Alan sits down abruptly in the witness chair next to the judge*

Judge Robert Sanders: Mr. Shore. That's a chair for witnesses only.

Really long speeches make me so tired sometimes.

Judge Sanders: Please get out of the chair.

Alan: Actually, I'm sick and tired.

Judge Sanders: Get out of the chair!

Alan: And what I'm most sick and tired of is how every time somebody disagrees with how the government is running things, he or she is labeled unAmerican.

U.S. Attorney Jonathan Shapiro: Evidentally, it's speech time.

Alan: And speech in this country is free, you hack! Free for me, free for you. Free for Melissa Hughes to stand up to her government and say "Stick it"!

U.S. Attorney Jonathan Shapiro: Objection!

Alan: I object to government abusing its power to squash the constitutional freedoms of its citizenry. And, God forbid, anybody challenge it. They're smeared as being a heretic.   Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American!

Judge Sanders: Mr. Shore. Unless you have anything new and fresh to say, please sit down. You've breached the decorum of my courtroom with all this hooting.

Alan: Last night, I went to bed with a book. Not as much fun as a 29 year old, but the book contained a speech by Adlai Stevenson. The year was 1952. He said, "The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live and fear breeds repression. Too often, sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-Communism."

Today, it's the cloak of anti-terrorism. Stevenson also remarked, "It's far easier to fight for principles than to live up to them."

I know we are all afraid, but the Bill of Rights - we have to live up to that. We simply must. That's all Melissa Hughes was trying to say. She was speaking for you. I would ask you now to go back to that room and speak for her.

 


 


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