Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Call me a dreamer...

Hey, call me naive, but wasn't this country supposed to have been founded on the idea of the rule of Law? It's bad enough when I take the Metro trains down to the Archives stop in order to go to the Smithsonian - I pass the Justice building - the one blockaded like a fortress, where I'm just waiting for them to decide that the mottoes on the building are "encouraging to terrorists" or something. Already, the big doors are closed and boarded over, and the areas around those old entries are surrounded by huge bollards with a few flowers planted on top, as though people will suddenly see these huge concrete lumps as simply outsize planters. Please.

And now... now we have a nominee for Attorney General who refuses to say whether or not causing someone to think they're being drowned is torture. What next, pressing? Saying that he would resign if the president were violating the law is meaningless when he refuses to say that a violation is a violation.

Other writers have suggested subjecting *him* to waterboarding, and then asking if he thinks it constitutes torture, but I don't agree with that, either. I wish I could (oh, boy, do I wish I could sometimes.) but I really don't believe that violence gets us anywhere constructive. It only builds hate. In both the torturer (how else can you torture? If you see the person being tortured as a *person*, how could you go on?) and the tortured (any bets on how you'd feel toward someone who could do that to you?)

I find myself, instead, wanting to ask him why. Why doesn't he feel like he can call waterboarding torture? What would make the difference in the documents he can't get? Do any of them contain more information than the simulated waterboarding that took place outside the justice building? Just what is Mr. Mukasey afraid of, anyway?

What has happened to this country? What has happened to the rule of law? What has happened to us that we now justify torture, seek to imprison people without trial, or even the most basic of human rights? Who are we?

I will say this, as someone who was in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001: I'm less afraid of losing my country to terrorists than I am of losing her to her "defenders".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent essay. Some say that once you have crossed into the territory of degrading another human being it is nearly impossible to return, but I don't believe that -yet. If enough people speak out and we formally make this known via Congress that we will (or will not) subscribe to the Geneva conventions, then we might be able to turn from this frightening course we are on. The mechanisms are still in place to make our choices known.

11/06/2007 8:39 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I don't believe that that is true. If it were, this poor world would be a worse place than it is. Even further down the road than most people realize, the gates of repentence stand wide open. Many folks in this world have done wrong, and some of them realize that and begin to turn themselves around, begin to work to undo the harm that they have caused. We're all called to turn around, no matter how far we've gone down that road.

Even today, there is room for repentence and making right. Isn't it time we started on that right path?

11/06/2007 9:36 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

p.s. (Can't tell I'm descended from a Baptist preacher, can you?)

11/06/2007 9:37 AM  

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