While the Senate quizzes Scooter B.’s nominee for Attorney General of the United States we all might want to explore some shit along with them.
We the people might want to ask ourselves what the fuck the Senate and the nominee are discussing…and how their answers define our nation before the world and before our fellow citizens.
Nominee Mukasey is being asked a lot of questions about torture. He has responded that he can not say whether techniques like water boarding are torture techniques…but he insists that torture would violate the United States Constitution.
Therefore, Mukasey can not say whether or not the United States government is currently or has recently violated the United States Constitution.
Pause…allow to marinate…continue.
While Senators and the nominee split and then split again the intellectual torture hair the masses are presented with a crucial opportunity, because if the question of torture is before our government then it is also before us.
I’ve heard many a political talking head discuss torture and say that it saves lives…it protects Americans…it is a necessary tool…and blah followed by blah followed by blah.
I don’t believe that to be true, but it does raise an interesting question.
Do I, as a citizen, value the principles of the human rights and liberty more than I value security if the cost of that security be the violation of those rights?
How much of our national identity are we willing to sacrifice in the name of safety?
We’ve faced this question before. The World War II Japanese internment camps come to mind and our answer then did not serve our nation well. The government gathered up United States citizens, forced them to abandon their homes and businesses, sent them to armed camps where they were subject to execution for trying to flee, and set about denying them their rights daily in the name of national security.
Despite this affront, Japanese American soldiers served with the honor this nation was actively denying them and their families.
When the dust settled our government emerged tarnished by the harsh glare of history…those unjustly detained were given reparations but money ain’t justice…and our national identity is still healing.
Such incidents litter our history and point out that the struggle for liberty is a work in progress. And now I watch a debate over how far we are willing to go and can’t help but wonder when we will cross the line and so compromise who we are that we no longer recognize the nation we’re torturing people to protect.
Give me liberty or give me slavery…give me liberty or give me segregation…give me liberty or give me internment…give me liberty or give me McCarthyism.
Give me liberty…
…or give me torture?
Lawd have mercy, for that is the question…