Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Colbert Quotes

Late last night, I watched an episode of the Colbert Report from last week (5/23/2007). During the interview with Bob Deans, author of The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James, Mr. Deans discussed the history of Jamestown, Virginia, founded 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Apparently the democratic process got used in order to facilitate quick decision making (rather than attempting to run the colony from London). But...

Bob Deans: But it wasn't democracy as we would recognize it. I mean, after all, only some people's votes got counted, there was martial law, there was torture, and the Royal Govornor ruled with fear...
Stephen Colbert: We wouldn't recognize that?
Bob Deans: Not in America.
Stephen Colbert: No, no!
Bob Deans: And the Royal Govornor ruled with fear, intimidation, and the political assassination of his critics. That's not democracy in America.
Stephen Colbert: No, no not any more. Not any more. Would that it were.
Interesting also that within 3 weeks of the first democratically elected assembly meeting in Jamestown, the first African slaves arrived (what Dean pointed to as an essential American contradiction in institutions: democracy and slavery). So yes, slaves arrived in America before Pilgrims arrived in America. I'll have to check this book out.

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