The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

Filed under Opinion

Response to Atwood Reception

Victoria Segovia

Victoria Segovia

Advertisement

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Margaret Atwood received the Saint Louis University Library Associates 2017 St. Louis Literary Reward. As you may recall, the not-guilty verdict of the Stockley trial was announced on the Friday before. Atwood, author of the 1985 dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” made several insightful comments regarding the current issue of police brutality in St. Louis. In my opinion, a lot can be taken from Atwood’s comments. “The Handmaid’s Tale” itself was initially written as a critique of the era’s Eastern European police state. Atwood lived there for a time while writing the novel, so I believe it is safe to say that she has some credibility when it comes to criticizing our own policing. One quote in particular stood out to me as something that we can draw thought from:

“Countries do not become police states overnight. They get there by steps.” She continued, “one step after another is tolerated and accepted, and soon the bridge between police state and democracy will be crossed, and then that bridge will be burned, and then you can’t go back without an uprising or a war and even that may not work.”

I believe that the most important part of this quote is the bridge between police state and democracy. Currently, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is launching a private investigation into the actions of officers when handling protests associated with the verdict. The fact alone that an investigation is necessary should tell you that we are currently grappling with the boundaries between our own personal democratic freedom and a police state. The week that the verdict was announced, I noticed several National Guard vehicles around St. Louis prior to any sort of cause for alarm. This alone shows that the policing forces in St. Louis have been flexing their power as a way to ward off uprising and protest.

Frankly, I agree with Atwood. If we continue to tolerate step after step, we will continue the downward spiral into accepted police brutality and violence. It is up to us as residents of St. Louis to show those in power that we will not continue to accept the budding police state here.

I think the most important thing we can gather from Atwood’s speech is the following quote:

“America, please don’t go there. Please honor your own pledge to the flag—liberty and justice for all. All means all. Justice doesn’t mean merely the administration of laws. The Nuremberg laws were laws. The fugitive slave act was a set of laws. But just and fair laws administered without discrimination. Please don’t settle for less. Live up to your own propaganda.”

While the law may be the law, we cannot settle for blatant discrimination within policing. We cannot continue to call ourselves free and democratic when police are not being held accountable. We need to do more across the board. Atwood is from Canada and even she can see the problem here. It is time we start addressing it.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Opinion

    The Man With the Dream

  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Letters to the Editor

    Happily Collegial, Even in Conflict

  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Opinion

    Why I Am Pro-Life

  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Commentary

    Why Pride?

  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Opinion

    Corporate Christmas Beginning Too Early?

  • Commentary

    A Response to Dr. Pestello’s Claim of “Fundamental Intolerance”

  • Commentary

    Napping Over Fall Break

  • Opinion

    Do Protests Work?

  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Commentary

    Does Progressivism Hate Comic Books?

  • Response to Atwood Reception

    Commentary

    Why it’s okay not to say #metoo, even if #youtoo

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University
Response to Atwood Reception