Leopold Senghor was still the head honcho of Senegal when I was there as a Peace Corps Volunteer (& later as a grad student). The famous father of negritude was pretty well regarded as the guy who got Senegal its independence from France. But he was ridiculed a little (sort of like the proverbial crazy uncle) because his wife was French, and white. And because he spoke French, Latin and Greek better than he did Wolof. Senghor was Serrere, & spoke that language as his native tongue. But everybody in Senegal spoke at least some Wolof. It was (and is) that country’s lingua franca. I knew several Americans who were quite fluent in the language, including my friend Richard.
I remember one time Richard was going on about Senghor’s horrible French accent when speakng Wolof. In a radio address the night before, at one point Senghor had said something like, “ha ‘bugge nga’ ak ‘bugulo nga’ amul barrak waxtan”, meaning “between ‘I like you’ and ‘I don’t like you’ there is no bench for discussion.” And Richard thought that was horribly undiomatic Wolof. (Note: my Wolof is very, very rusty. I probably got that all wrong, but that’s how I remember it.)
Whatever. It stuck with me. And so, with reference to this recent nonsense about a “compromise” on the FISA bill, and with a nod to the late Mr. Senghor, I would just like to say, that between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’, there is no bench for discussion. Bush and Cheney and all the other monarchists in their administration think there’s a need to pass a law saying that when phone companies break the law, they’re not breaking the law. Fuck that. Y’know, that’s why our so-called founders invented the so-called judiciary. Y’know, so that there would be a well defined place and way to sort these things out. When you’re making ex-post facto laws to exonerate your buddies, you’re not fooling anybody. Or, to quote another sage, I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.
As we say in broken Wolof, Rekk— that’s all.