Jim Olson said...
In a civilised society, there is simply no room for the death penalty. This mans crimes are heinous, no doubt. But retributive justice simply is beneath us.
As is pre-emptive military action.
As is torture.
As is unlawful detainment.
As is ignoring the Geneva Conventions.
As are an entire list of crimes, lies and other evil things this Repupblican President and his administration have committed in our name.
For a person and a party so concerned with upholding and protecting America, they sure have done an excellent job of destroying the real things that made us once great.
I think our next President should hold a National Day of Apology. Where we, as a nation, publicly name the things we have done to wrong the world, and ask for forgiveness.
And then internally, there be a house-cleaning like we've never seen. No more Halliburton contracts. No more billions spent on war machines while people go hungry and homeless and uneducated because there is no money. No more lies to the American people or the world.
And then, when the people responsible for these things are brought to justice, up to and including the former President of the United States, perhaps then the America that we should be will reemerge.
Barack Obama should set a new precedent. "There will be no pardons" should be his mantra. Not only will this call George Bush to justice, but it will create a new level of responsibility for himself, but for any future office holder. No pardons, means that even the President is responsible to uphold all the laws of our nation.
We have perhaps one last moment to reclaim our moral center, and to stave off the twilight of being a declining nation, our American experiment in democracy a chapter in some future book, that ends with failure and is cast on 'the dust bin of history', as other great civilizations have been.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
-- Psalm 146
Well, anyway, when I was getting all freaked out about an upcoming election long ago, and demanded that my rabbi tell me whom he was voting for, that's what he said to me.
(I had to look up where it was in the Bible, but of course the Bible Study homework was part of the Free Wisdom.)
I was quite shocked. Surely he should have said, "Vote for McGovern!" President McGovern was going to cure all my problems, and fix all America's terrible problems that season.
But he didn't tell me how to vote. He didn't tell me how he was going to vote.
Oh yeah, I am 100 percent convinced that Obama in the White House 174 days from now (click here for instant updates, or buy your own damn countdown keychain or refrigerator magnet) will be a far, far better thing for Planet Earth and the nearby Planets (I think Sol can take care of itself pretty well) than the multimillionairess beer distributor's husband who used to wreck jet planes in the Navy.
But the Super Clown Cartoon TV Extravaganza Circus by which the USA chooses its president (don't forget the booming, thrilling background music whenever the nifty animated computer grahic Decision 2008 logo fills the screen) tends to hypnotize us into believing that Spectacularly Good Things might be just around the corner for all of us, that after 20 January 2009, a new political leader will Heal The Planet, Stop The Wars, Defibrilate the Economy, substitute American cooperation and diplomacy for American global war bullying, successfully get us off fossil fuel addiction, provide health care to all Americans regardless of economic status, restore true justice and the Rule Of Law to the land ...
The guy's just a politician. He puts his pants on one leg at a time. Just like you and I do. Just like Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton do. (I think somebody helps McCain get dressed.)
Certainly some of the Thrill is real. Obama couldn't possibly fuck things up worse than the gentleman we've had in the White House for the last 7.5 years if he tried. No president since FDR took office in the grip of the Great Depression has ever had the Achievement Bar set so miserably low by his predecessor. Bush's legacy of incompetence, corruption and planetary damage could make any successor look good.
Who could possibly do worse than Bush has done? Well, McCain could do worse. He'd certainly give it his best shot. And he has an intellect and world knowledge equivalent to Bush. Last week we learned about McCain's commitment to defend the Iraq-Afghanistan border.
But I think we're making a big mistake to expect Obama and a honeymoon Democratic Congress to fix much.
They're politicians. We breathe air, and politicians breathe re-election votes and campaign donations.
The supergiant corporations are, by definition, invested in the status quo and every imaginable thing they can do to increase the salaries of their top executives and their corporate profits.
Their access to powerful politicians will be -- well, you and I will be lucky to get a nice piece of junk e-mail from President Obama, an automated message assuring us how concerned he is about our concerns.
Your laundry list of desperate needs for positive change, healing, justice --
Put not your trust in princes ...
Individual Americans are going to have to figure out individual, local ways to achieve these things by their own efforts.
When the Red, White & Blue TV Clown Circus finally ends, Wonderful Things will have to come primarily from us.
We're going to have to come up with the ideas, we're going to have to pull the energy and the determination from inside ourselves.
If enough of us demand it loudly enough -- if we threaten to shut off the money and the re-election votes and asphyxiate the Prince and his Court on Capitol Hill -- our young, handsome new Prince just might feel desperate enough to actually do a few good things, to toss the American people a tasty bone now and then.