There are a couple of things that mystify me about my country.

One of them is casserole.

The other one is how we manage constantly to maintain the most hypocritical attitude towards...everything. We'd like the world not to die, but we don't want to set concrete goals in order to provide for sustainability. We apparently don't want people from Mexico to cross the border, but our environmental choices are some of the main causes of Mexico's imminent uninhabitability. We get pissed off when other governments spy on and torture people, but we, y'know, spy on and torture people. We hold equality as one of our highest ideals, but we provide very few resources or education options to minorities and the poor. And I can't really figure out why.

Are we just oblivious? Do we think that we're better than everyone else? More deserving? Are we complacent? Do we not have enough charismatic leadership? Are we too preoccupied with concerns about war? Terrorism? Have we become too entrenched in our elitist meritocracy?

It's interesting. And it used to make me really angry, to the point where I couldn't even articulate my feelings, but recently it's gone so far beyond that as to be simply bemusing. The thing is, I think I could get behind a strong movement for change. But I know enough about myself to understand that I'm not the voice of that movement. I'm not charming or charismatic or science-y. I'm reasonably smart, but I know a lot about dead British poets and Medieval verse, not really the now.

Is that voice out there? Have you heard it? Is there anything but old men talking about nothing that changes anything and the slow heat of silence?

(P.S. Title from the gorgeous Apocalypse Lullaby by the Wailin' Jennys, which I will not post an .mp3 for because the blind monkeys at the RIAA might think it was costing them money and sue me for 8.5 gajillion dollars, and I have $15.33 to my name right now. No-go. :P)
I try to keep politics out of LJ as much as possible; I'm not much of a political person, and I think everything balances out, eventually. I don't really have the time or the energy to devote to political ramblings.

But I am deeply disturbed by a US Court of Appeals panel decision that Guantanamo detainees (prisoners: living breathing human prisoners) do not have the right to challenge their imprisonment through the writ of habeas corpus.

May I direct your attention to Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution which says, specifically, that "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

I can see clever arguments for how the public safety may require it, but I fail to see the threat of rebellion and invasion. I fail to see how we, as the invading power, think we can ship enemy soldiers out of their own country, (not to ours, of course, just to an intermediate stop that we've commandeered to use indefinitely), away from their own government (which we set up), and then deny them a right specifically referenced in one of our own most important, indispensable documents. I realize that the majority of the prisoners, as non-Americans, are not guaranteed American rights. I just find it frustrating and mind-boggling that we think we can get away with going into a foreign country, taking its people, and holding them indefinitely. I don't even have the words to form a coherent argument about it, as you've probably figured out if you've navigated all the way through this post. It just saddens me, disappoints me, and makes me wonder how, twenty, fifty, a hundred years from now, history will remember us. How strongly history will condemn us.

Yes, us. Because I'm an American, and anything my country does reflects on and is a reflection of me.



May 2010



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