Edge of the West
Human dignity might be as good a place as any to start this thing. Not a half-bad place to start anything, do you think? Difficult a concept as it appears to be for some to grasp, we all know. We are born with it, just as surely as were born with a heart in our chest.
WASHINGTON D.C.—America showed off a lot of both on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of this November when we, pardon the indignity, threw the bums the hell out.
Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions states there will be "no outrages upon human dignity in the treatment of enemy combatants captured in war." Pretty decent convention, one might think, showing that humans - even in the face of our depraved, bloodletting conflicts with one another - strive nonetheless for some kind of higher ground in the treatment of individual prisoners of war. But oh my, then the 43rd American president had to jump in. Lobbying Congress hard for passage of a bill that would officially sanction torture, George W. Bush went uncharacteristically thoughtful:
It's very vague. What does that mean- outrages upon human dignity? And his Congress of yes-men, in what turns out to be one of their last official acts, regurgitated his bill into law. America tortures people legally now. It's Bush's Law. We, the people, the pretty damn decent people of the United States of America, we torture.
Well, hold onto your waterboards for just one minute there, sports fans, because here come the red states, blue states, orange, green, name it, stepping up to a color-blind plate in last Tuesday's sweeping scream for change, wielding a huge Louisville Slugger, demanding the self-proclaimed "war president" lose the arrogance and find a clue.
They said that whatever part of human dignity is so hard for you to understand, Mr. Decider, know that torture is surely an outrage upon it.
Listen, America self-corrects. At least that. Still somehow conscience-bound despite slavery, dropped A-bombs, native American genocide, institutional greed, this nation periodically self-corrects, probably out of nothing so much as a basic survival instinct. Oops, we just did it again.
There has developed over six grueling years of Bushamerica, a gauntlet of outrages that human dignity has had to fight its way through.
For instance, human dignity, bruised, bloodied, fought its way through the tenure of Donald Rumsfeld, operations manager of the Iraq chaos, torture advocate, because he's gone now, buried in an electoral landslide. And soon there will be no more of John Bolton, the human train wreck who went as ambassador to a United Nations he despises as much as any human being could despise it. "There is no such thing as the United Nations," the current ambassador to it once said. John Bolton, see ya. Human dignity, hey.
Human dignity is rearing its shy head in demanding there will be no more of the most tragic blunder in American history, the great needless Iraq War that has taken over 3,000 American and some say up to 600,000 Iraqi lives in order to force democracy on a newly-built nation that goes right on ahead and democratically elects the very fundamentalists we were said to be there to contain in the first place. This is twisted human folly at its most gruesome and America gets it - screams- Enough Is Enough.
Human dignity will no longer allow illegal wire-tapping and unchecked monitoring of telephone conversations of American citizens in the name of the almighty Fear. And human dignity demands that even those held up as the most dangerous to western civilization shall not have the key to their Gitmo cell thrown away with no accountability and no day in court because it flies in the face of everything the United States of America has ever stood for. It's why there is a United States of America.
Human dignity cringes at the notion of the most fortunate and wealthiest among us receiving the lions share of tax-cut money that does not even exist in the national coffers as deficit soars in the time of great, needless war. All the while, the millions who do the daily labor to build and service the infra-structure that the well-to-doers rely upon to accumulate their wealth, fight over the few scraps thrown their way in petty battles for things like what to leave in and what to leave out of the Pledge of Allegiance. And that cruel joke of a $5.15 per hour minimum wage that has not been upped one cent while a Republican-controlled Congress has given itself $31,600 in eight separate pay raises since 1997 does not go unnoticed by the seeing eyes of human dignity.
Human common sense chimes in and has many scratching their heads over a 700-mile wall approved for our southernmost border by that same newly lame-ducked Congress because that 700-mile wall have graffiti written all over every inch of it, and it will say "idiocy" and "money-burner" among choicer things. Common sense informs us that for every 20-foot wall, there's a 21-foot ladder, and for every indigenous person to any given homeland there is given righteousness.
Human dignity- oblivious to language, creed, color- now of this looming wall and all things Bushamerican, implores, "No mas."
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