‘Tis the season
When Congress decides this week how it will vote on Bush’s torture legislation, which will condone and, in this country at least, make legal the savage torture of our fellow human beings and, in effect, pardon a president and administration who have been, methodically and quite blatantly, breaking the law of the land for several years, I would ask that they think, just for a moment, about the season.
Our representatives and senators are in an big hurry to get torture legalized so they can get out on the campaign trail, since an awful lot of them have an awful lot of ‘splainin’ to do to the Americans they represent. The sooner the better, I guess, since the torture legislation, which makes it OK to attach wires to a detainee’s genitals and turn on the juice, is well, a little uncomfortable. You know. They feel, rightly, that if the vote is rushed, the People won’t have time to really think it through. And then it won’t matter, because it will be too late, and the People will be busy watching the new fall line-up on TV anyway. They’ll forget all about that mean old torture legislation. They will, at least, until they discover that their president can call, say, blogging about their unhappiness with him, an act of terrorism. At which point, they’ll remember the torture legislation very, very well. Perhaps even first-hand.
But let’s move on. Other than the general election on Nov. 7, when the People will decide whether to keep the status quo or wipe the slate clean, what else do we have coming up in November?
Well, let’s see. There’s Veteran’s Day, on Nov. 11. That’s the day we set aside to honor those who’ve served our country in military service, particularly those who’ve served – and survived – war. What better time, then, in light of legalized torture, to consider their sacrifices? Our veterans served and fought for their country – the greatest country on Earth, proudly and without question because it, and it alone, stood for freedom, liberty and democracy. Equality and the right of free speech and the right to worship – or not – as we please. They worked to keep our country safe and preserve the bright light of her Constitution. I’m sure they’ll feel especially honored this year, 2006, since their Congress legalized waterboarding and blunt-object beatings.
Then, we have Thanksgiving. Now this one is near and dear to all Americans’ hearts, the day we stop everything to give thanks for the bounty we enjoy in our lives. Good bread, good meat, good God, let’s eat! Children all over the nation will make paper cutouts of pilgrims, Indians and turkeys to go along with the story of the Mayflower, the ship that brought the first pilgrims from England to America’s shores. And they’ll learn that those good people came to America because they wanted to be able to worship their god freely and as they wished, far away from the rigid, cruel and imperial rule of a King. As we sit down to our Thanksgiving turkeys and honey hams, our big bowls of dressing and boats of gravy, our cornucopias of fresh vegetables, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pies, let us, for a moment, consider the detainees who, even at this moment, will be getting their sustenance through a tube jammed up their noses, down their throats and into their stomachs, courtesy of the torture legislation condoned by good Americans everywhere.
Finally, it’s Christmas. Jingly joy! As we celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus, meek and mild, and go on our yearly buying spree in the name of Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men, we might pause for a second or two and think about the detainees being held all over the world by our great democracy and how they might be feeling a little, well, passed over this Christmas season. As they shiver in their cells, hung by their arms on the wall, their only gift a bucket of ice-cold water thrown on their naked, shrinking bodies, they might be moved to question the good will and godliness of a People who could legalize such treatment and then, turkey sandwiches in hand, get together to sing Silent Night and laugh, good-naturedly, at the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
And so, as the holiday season looms, tantalizingly, just a few months away, I would like to ask my representatives in government to consider the abject hypocrisy of passing the president’s torture legislation. As good Christians, I think they owe the American People — and the world — that much.