The Broad is Back!

March 9, 2008

Torture is OK? Not in my book!

Filed under: American culture,military,New Broads,politics,soldiers,torture — by maggiec @ 9:15 pm

Read yesterday’s news that Bush vetoed the bill to ban waterboarding.  What has happened to my country?  America used to have moral authority in this world.  Maybe we didn’t deserve it, but we had it.  But we’ve been slowly but surely abdicating it under the current president’s administration.

First we illegally invaded a country. 

Then we condone torture at our POW camps.

Then there’s that whole Guantanamo thing I don’t even want to get into.  It makes me sick.

And now this.

Can’t say I’m surprised.  A lot of people I talk to don’t give a rat’s patoot about terrorists, alleged or real.  Torture is too good for them.  OK, I give you that’s human nature.  But the purpose of government, in my view, is to help humans transcend that nature and be something better.

I’m gonna wax a little philosophical here, so bear with me.

I know it’s not PC to see humans as a corrupt animal, to see us as having fallen natures for lack of a better way of putting it–all that wonderful stuff from Locke, Rousseau, and all of their current progeny.  But I’ve always been a lot more of a Hobbesean kind of gal when it comes to human nature.  Nothing I’ve seen of human nature has convinced me otherwise.  Oh, I have hope, and I live in that hope, and I’m a dyed in the wool optimist, but things like yesterday’s veto sorely try my optimism.

Of course, Hobbes himself would support Bush’s making himself a supreme power.  Hobbes was against separation of powers and advocated for a strong sovereign who totally controlled the government.  That’s why it’s John Locke who is paraphrased in the Declaration of Independence, not Hobbes.  And in most ways I admire Locke much more than I admire Hobbes, but I don’t think he would condone torture, either.

For me, it’s more than a moral dilemma.  I hate that my country, my wonderful, idealistic country no longer exists.  I am realist enough to know that it probably never really existed, but no matter what, the United States of America should not condone torture.  Morality aside (a strange comment in any context), the president’s veto scares me in terms of constitutional integrity.

As anyone who ever saw Schoolhouse Rock! knows, our government is a three-ringed circus, and, in the words of Schoolhouse Rock,

“No one part can be
more powerful than any other is.
Each controls the other you see,
and that’s what we call checks and balances.

Well, everybody’s act is part of the show.
And no one’s job is more important.
The audience is kinda like the country you know,
Keeping and eye on their performance.”

Schoolhouse Rock!

 But this administration is trying to make the presidency more important than it should be.  In the past seven years, Americans’ rights have slowly but surely eroded.  And so have the rights of people who come in contact with us.

The Boston Globe had a good article on the veto.  Take a look for yourself.

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