Thursday, October 19, 2006

Torture and the Torturers and our National Soul

Arthur over at "Once Upon a Time" has a great piece up regarding the Military Commissions Act and how those who torture suffer, in their own ways, as much as the tortured.

He ends his piece with:
With Bush's signing of this bill today, the worst kind of barbarism is made "legitimate" and consecrated in our laws.

We commit horrors, our government sanctifies the acts, and we speak of them openly -- and even with pride and righteousness. In terms of the moral principles that are implicated, there is not much lower to go.

Now we simply wait to see to what extent the powers in this new law are implemented, and who the particular targets will be. And we wait to see just how lightless, how evil, and how endless our nightmare will be.

Perhaps nothing more clearly identifies what is at risk in this election, and indeed in all elections.

Our country was not, to steal a phrase,
founded by fearful men. But it was founded as all things are - by imperfect people, and it has been governed by imperfect people, who, at times, have chosen to give in to their fear and choose the wrong path.

However, as Keith Olbermann said so well:
Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…

…one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.

When we've chosen the wrong path, as a country, we've recognized it, perhaps belatedly. Those leaders who've decided that the Constitution was only valid in peacetime, those who chose to silence the objections of their fellow citizens out of fear - they've paid a price. They've lost elections, they've lost respect, their record, no matter how impressive otherwise, has been forever blemished. George Bush will never lose another election, but he looks often at how history will perceive him, and in this, history will judge him harshly. Moreso than Adams, or Wilson, or Roosevelt, for he cannot even ask the historians to group this tragedy in amongst a career of works that bettered humanity. He, and those who have supported him during his reign of hate and fear and weakness, are lost.

So, what does this have to do with the day nineteen days from now? We don't have to let this stand. We don't have to suffer from an "endless nightmare". We have the power to reclaim our nation for the free, for the proud, for the brave. We can elect people who will choose a different path, who will repeal this law. Who will recognizer the value in freedom. Who will see the Constitution for what it is - not a quaint, outdated, guide to the good times - but as the defining document of our nation, and as a rock to cling to even in the worst times, so that when the bad times pass, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we did the right thing.

The simple truth is that the money doesn't matter. Diebold doesn't matter. The negative TV ads don't matter. What matters is whether or not enough Americans show up on November Seventh and vote to protect and defend their country, their Constitution, and (for those who believe in such things) their souls. There is nothing George Bush can do to us if we, as a nation, remember that we hold the power.

1 comment:

jimbow8 said...

Nice post.

That site you linked has a plethora of GREAT, well-written pieces