In the post below, I had called into question the fact that all of us who were raised in the states (even those like Jeb who went to private schools) had to recite the pledge of allegiance every day. I don't think it is detrimental necessarily but just kind of ironic and weird. When I explain this to Czechs, they usually look at me dumbfounded: they would expect this kind of thing from their old communist masters, but not in a "free" country like the U.S.
I found it very interesting that the detractors who are all Republicans to the best of my knowledge (feel free to correct me on that) generally felt that my light criticism of this practice was groundless because the U.S. stands for the greatest ideals ever to grace the planet. I would generally agree with that last part, but I feel that only lends credibility to my argument that being forced to give the pledge is at least ironic.
One of the ideals that I think is particularly poignant is the idea that all people have certain rights, irrespective of what they are suspected of. Pedophiles, ax-murderers, pension-fund plunderers, and animal torturers are all afforded certain rights. The crimes they are accused of are presented to them clearly. They are given a trial, and even when convicted, cruel and unusual punishment (i.e. torture) is strictly forbidden. As much as I would personally like to hang these people up in the square by meat hooks until they slowly die, I understand that this is not possible if one wants to live in a civilized society.
Another one of those ideals is captured in the first Amendment to the Constitution. The press, by virtue of that grand ideal, is allowed to report almost anything.
So when I read a story like this one
I can't help to point out the irony that the same people who believe so strongly in the ideals captured by the Constitution, are ready to cast those ideals away in the name of security. They not only think that a terrorist suspect (suspect mind you, not convict) can be tortured, held indefinitely without trial and without any charges being brought against them, but that the press is treasonous for even reporting that this is going on.
I don't have anymore sympathy for a terrorist than I do for a pedophile, but civilized people should refrain from torturing either of them.
Is that really too much to ask?
As an American citizen, I am calling on my government not to endorse, or abet the torturing of anyone no matter how horrible the crime of which they are accused of is.
As an American citizen, I ask that we live up to the ideals that once made us the most admired nation, and people, on earth.
Won't you join me in that, all of you?
Labels: bill of rights, torture