Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nothing That Concerns You Has Happened

Nothing that concerns you has taken place.   Be calm.  Be of good cheer, no bad evil or wrong thinking is going on in your government, we're benign happy people who only spend money responsibly on good things.  The only people who ever are wrong or bad, are those other guys who aren't in power, but are stinky heads anyway, to be spit on, possibly jailed, and always ignored.  If any of them raise any concerns, it's not because they're right or we're wrong, it's because they're greedy for power we have.  You can't trust them.  But you can trust us. We've the better intentions even if we do exactly what was done before but don't tell you. 

Yesterday, I read about the hunger strike at Gitmo, where possibly as many as 166 inmates have been on hunger strikes owing to the abuses and conditions they endure in their never ending confinement.

It seems only a few years ago,  I remember when the political left was a champion for their rights, for human rights, for the Constitution and the rule of law.  I remember when the idea of the U.S.A being engaged in torture or permanent imprisonment without possibility of trial or parole or even charges, brought thoughtful and consistent outrage at the administration for its slow responses and casual indifference to violations of agreed upon standards for treatments even of "hostile enemy combatants."  I remember back when Bush was president, feeling horrified at the existence of the camp, and thinking, anyone brought there, if they weren't broken when they went in, would hate  the US if they ever got out.  I remember thinking, this couldn't be our government, being coy with the rule of law, pretending to somehow parse the constitution to allow something like torture and indefinite imprisonment to exist.  I remember feeling ashamed.  I also remember musing that in creating such a place, a door was opened for future mischief.

That future mischief happening has now been going on for a while.

Now that it is 5 years into the existing administration's run of the land,  can we possibly consider the moral legitimacy of arguing against this policy without being told such criticism undermines the existing president, is politically or racially motivated, or has no weight since Bush did it first and worse? 

Wrong is wrong. Violating rights and holding prisoners in permanent limbo isn't a policy any person with an R or a D beside their name should endorse, it is UnAmerican,  it is inhuman.  People who watch Fox News and those who comment on Das Kos ought to be on the same page about this, that we can't be a nation of laws if we ignore those laws when they are inconvenient.  Human beings matter.  They matter whether they are Muslim or have Alzheimer's or Down Syndrome or have been raped, or are the teenagers who committed the crime or are unborn.  We are a nation that claims to be better, to cherish life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as part of our core.  We are ignoring that core for some people, because it is easier than the alternative that freedom demands.  We are going to have to live unsafely and be okay with the reality that life and liberty, involve risk.

So how do we let these people go?  We swallow hard. We recognize that we have probably created by our unwillingness to follow our own laws, regardless of political affiliation, a whole new generation that can declare us hypocrites and justify by their own pain, any rage they throw our way.  We will have to work seven times seventy times to earn the trust we have burned over the years. Some of those injured or who view the injuries, will never trust us.  We will have to live with that too.

We live in an age that is honestly burnt out on outrage.  We should be. We have seen how little fruit it produces.  Our congress passes laws without reading them and spends money without thinking.  It holds committees that make recommendations that are promptly filed away never to be used.  As a people, as a government, we waste, we idle, we blame, we rule, we smother, we take, we spin. But we never stop a program. We never cut back. We never stop what is politically convenient.  We never release power once acquired.  

For our society to begin to get better, Americans have to not spend energy being outraged, and instead spend our talents speaking and learning and pushing back against the political sloth that paints all approval or dismissal of policy as purely based on politics and thus not worthy of note if it goes against your guy's side.    We need to insist to the President and to the house and the senate, that this place be closed. We need to insist that these people be returned to their homes.  We need to have trials with charges to illustrate to the world and ourselves, we aren't petty tyrants with large credit cards.  We need to respect the rule of law for all people at all times, if we would be a society that values the rule of law.

Everyone gets that those laws, following them, in all scenarios, it's hard. It's why we've failed in some cases, but we have the power to stop failing. Being a nation of laws is what makes us a nation worth having, worth keeping.  Call your representatives and senators, write your papers an email.

My fellow blogger The Ironic Catholic has some excellent links and her piece also talks about the need for all of us as Americans, as people of good will, as humans, to speak out and ask that this place be closed.  Those who have been cleared, must be set free immediately.  There is no excuse, save fear of what we have done, and we need to be a braver people who when they see something is wrong, stop the wrong itself.

So I stand with my fellow blogger in asking questions, and the others who have joined...

1 comment:

gary1wan said...

I'm a retired commissioned officeer of the Army of the United States. So, I had a little trouble trying to agree with this post. However, you did do an excellent job for your side. I like your formatting of your post.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!