Evil triumphs—again

Allow us to paraphrase English philosopher Edmund Burke: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

What are you going to do? Your representatives, the people you elected to represent your best interests in the national forum, have voted to legalize torture at one man’s discretion and, on the basis of suspicion, eliminate habeas corpus.

Doesn’t this moral relativism just make you want to scream? “Oh,” our president and his lickspittle minions lie, “let’s have a culture of life; let’s claim a Christian heritage; let’s do every goddamned thing we can think of except actually live up to the values we claim to honor.” (And if that word “goddamned” bothers you, maybe you should look it up because it’s precisely the correct word.)

In this, the United States of America, the land of the brave and the home of the free, our “leadership” has endorsed the torture of presumed-innocent people. Or isn’t this the country of innocent until proven guilty? Jefferson didn’t say, “All Americans;” he said the Creator endowed all people with rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Isn’t this the country of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States? “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Many of us in this country look to Jesus Christ as an example of how people should be treated, and we shudder when we hear how Jesus Christ was made a political prisoner, tortured and killed because he refused to answer questions. Supposedly good people will do nothing. Like Pontius Pilate, we’ll wash our hands while our government takes powerless captives, subjects them to extreme physical and psychological pain, holds them without trial, sentences them without presenting “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” and kills them. And it’s not only the paranoids among us who believe people may die, in fact, have already died, simply to prevent them from saying what our government did. How is that different from the way the most evil governments have done business?

Jesus was quoted as saying, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Just how the hell do these so-called godly men square their support of the abuse of the powerless with the teachings of their savior? Because if St. Peter has the keys to the pearly gates, you can bet he ain’t letting any torturers in for a heavenly reward. He, like Jesus, was tortured to death. At least, that’s what John referred to in his 21st chapter, “When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and take you where you do not want to go.”

Do you get it? The tortured have more in common with Jesus and his disciples than the torturers do.

This isn’t about Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, Christian or Muslim, or political gamesmanship or coddling terrorists. This isn’t about U.S. citizens’ rights; this is about human rights. This is about our most basic human values. This is about saying, “No matter how afraid we are of a changing world, we will not become that which we abhor.”

Now, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to vote for people who condoned torture?