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What happened to my country?

Today, a bill has passed the House and is expected to be passed by the Senate that will authorize torture, suspend the Geneva Convention, and eliminate Habeus Corpus - the most fundamental civil right that has been a cornerstone of the rule of law since the signing of the Magna Carta. Rather than being a shameful epioside in American legislature - a bill passed furtively in late-night sessions and never spoken of to the press - this has become a focus point of the coming election. Republicans are running on the platform that they are for torture, and against the rule of law - and America is falling for it.

What happened to my America? What happened to the country that went to war reluctantly, and always with nobility and decency? What happened to the country that above all guaranteed baisc freedoms and upheld the rule of law? What happened to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? I am confounded by the incredible turn of events that has lead to this pass - when small-minded corrupt politicians bray about the triumph of torture, the death of one of the most fundamental rights in Western civilization, and use that very same shit-stained brush to smear their counterparts who are trying to preserve America as the nation I served, fought for - was willing to die for, if necessary?

This is too much. If you're not involved with local elections, get involved. These rascals have to be run out of office - or the fundamental identity of America as based on the values on which it was founded is imperiled. Whatever it takes, friends - don't be complacent, don't content yourself to just vote! Spend your time, spend your money - give of yourself to preserve what was once the noblest nation on earth, and may yet be again. I am ashamed of this law, and can only pray that the cooler heads in the Senate will strike it down - it is the very opposite of what I believe my country stands for. It is not terrorists who need to fear this law - it's American citizens who want to live in a country that stands for actual freedom, legitimate rule of law, rather than rule of the majority - and most importantly, a nation which does not condone, legalize, endorse, or practice torture. We are not a nation of torturers! We are not a nation of secret cells from which there is no escape, no process, and no accountability! There will be no gulags in America, no torture rooms, no camps and black hoods - not here, not where I live, not in my country, my America.

Please don't make me do this alone.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
pookahchu
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
--not proud to be an american today.
stegoking
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
That America you speak of never existed, man. It was just childhood propaganda.
aghrivaine
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Bullshit. We were signatories to the Geneva Convention - and as a soldier, i got training on what it means, frequently, especially when deploying. Torture was explicitly and clearly unlawful.

Habeus Corpus is a fundamental right in American jurisprudence - and the Constitution guarantees due process to every American, or anyone detained on American soil or by the American government.

That's not propaganda brother - those are laws. Those are explicit rights that the American government used to defend. That American soldiers used to defend. That American politicians used to defend.

Today, we strike down those laws - and then try and portray people who have lived a life in service to America as supporting terrorists more than their constituents if they disagree. I am apalled that this ludicrous claim is not so risible on the face of it that any fool uttering it is not immediately branded as an idiot unfit to be responsible for dressing themselves, much less leading the nation.
(no subject) - stegoking - Sep. 28th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stegoking - Sep. 28th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 28th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 28th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stegoking - Sep. 28th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 28th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
blanchemains
Sep. 28th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
I'm with you.
aegon_vermelho
Sep. 28th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
I'm with you - it's a vile act and just one more step on the way to "making the trains run on time".

arya
Sep. 28th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
I used to vote my conscience, to make a statement-- always voting Libertarian whenever possible.

As it is, for the last few years, I've been voting, conflictedly, Democrat. Because after September 11th, anti-Bush is more important to me than my own beliefs.

I think that says a lot.
aghrivaine
Sep. 28th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
It would all be easier if Democratic candidates had a spine and some answers, wouldn't it?
(no subject) - arya - Sep. 28th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 28th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
beautesansbete
Sep. 28th, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I do agree that this has happened all thru our history with perhaps an emergence of real prisoner/human rights in the last hundred years or so. We were making slow progress as a people but King George Bush has set us back significantly. He has to turn in his crown at the end of his term but it will be hard to oust his cronies who will be pulling the country’s strings for a long time to come. It is an uphill battle but one that must be fought.
aghrivaine
Sep. 28th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
No, the Habeas Corpus has been a part of law since the Magna Carta, and a fundamental part of American law since before the Constitution was signed.

That's just fact. It's been suspended on a few occasions, but never outright repealed.
nephandi
Sep. 28th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
Never thought I'd see the day that Arlen Specter became my hero.
blanchemains
Sep. 28th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
robtheswordsman
Sep. 29th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
The initial American principals were unquestionably just. In the beginning, and even a few times since then, the United States promised promises that would benefit humanity. It was a genuinely good thing, simply put.

The promises weren't all kept, obviously. However, the fact that things such as slavery, genocide, and internment camps stain our history does NOT mean that we should simply be satisfied with the conclusion: "America sucks. Oh well. Hey, look. It's getting shittier. Go figure."

The best form of patriotism is passionate dissonance; if your country is lousy, struggle to make it better. Be accepting and well-aware of your countries weaknesses, expose them, and fix them.

America was never perfect, but it wasn't always this way. I say we fight.

On a somewhat related note: "Terrorists? That's what the big army calls the little army!" - Wolverine, Secret Wars
thefrank
Sep. 29th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
I disagree with everything you've written but can't spare the time to do a line by line rebuttal (which will just spawn an endless chain of posts and counter posts.) All I can suggest is that you try reading what "the other side" has to say. It might either help you put into context how this happened or why.

I'll just toss out that loud music and standing up are now considered torture and that none of our enemies since WW2 have followed the Geneva Conventions. Not that that will allay anyone's fears that America is lost, doomed, the end times are here, we must fight back, and the prescience of Wolverine in "Secret Wars."
aghrivaine
Sep. 29th, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
Stress positions and such aren't what's at debate. It's whether we will or will not abide by the Geneva Conventions, of which we are a signatory. We have, we should. It's bad for everyone if we don't.

The behavior of our enemies is not the standard by which we should judge ourselves. If you believe it is, I dearly hope you are never given any authority, and that no one ever listens to a word you say.

Lastly - Habeas Corpus. Rule of law. Effectively over! One hopes you don't agree with that.
Enjoy the echo chamber - thefrank - Sep. 29th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Right Wing Claptrap - aghrivaine - Sep. 29th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Short Answer - thefrank - Sep. 29th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 29th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thefrank - Sep. 29th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 29th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
beautesansbete
Sep. 29th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes we all know it has been around for hundreds of years (I just got a whole history lesson at jury duty last week) but you have to admit at times it has been ignored or continently ?forgotten? about in some cases or it didn?t apply to women, slaves, Native Americans, or non citizens. Just because we had a law or laws doesn?t mean that the local government didn?t turn a blind eye whenever they found it convenient. It was wrong but it happened. What slave ever got a fair trial?
What I am saying is that- It has only been the past hundred years or so that law enforcement has regularly regulated its self and political watch groups and the media started blowing whistles on corrupt officials and illegal military activates. And even with those watch dogs in place prisoner and human rights still get trampled on, especially in the south.
And yes I firmly believe that Bush is responsible for dragging us back into the dark ages where the king does what he wants and screw the rest of the government and citizens. That is why no one should ever vote for anyone like him ever again. Also, we should feed him to the zombies. That would be fair, eaten by the very people he leads!
aghrivaine
Sep. 29th, 2006 08:53 pm (UTC)
So, help me understand your point. We have this fundamental right. In the past, it's been unevenly applied - but one of the undeniable areas of progress towards a better world we've had is that we've moved towards ever more fair application of laws and legal rights. But since in the past, some people were not treated fairly - we can excuse the removal of those rights in the present?

That doesn't logically follow. Slaves, Indians, women - they all should have had equal protection under the law - it's right there in the Constitution. That they didn't is a failure and a shame - but not an excuse to return to a less-fair time - or worse, to suspend those rights all together.
(no subject) - beautesansbete - Sep. 29th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aghrivaine - Sep. 29th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )