“The real and great questions of conscience and accountability would not loom so ominously — unanswered or evaded at such tremendous cost — without our day-to-day failure to insist on genuine accountability. Of course we’d prefer some easy ways to get there. But no easy ways exist. Not a new Congress. Not Barack Obama. And not John McCain. His courage in North Vietnamese prison makes him a heroic man. His voting record in Congress makes him a damaging public servant. We have gotta stand the fuck up and show the world how powerful are the people in a democracy. That’s how we regain our position of example, rather than pariah, to the world at large. And that is how we can begin to put up our chins and allow pride and unification to raise our own quality of life and security.” — Sean Penn on the state of things, from remarks delivered last night (12.18.06) upon his receiving the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award from The Creative Coalition.