Saturday, August 30, 2008

What about the torture?


The Democratic National Convention provided a grand show of Democratic Party unity -- and a visual demonstration of what this country looks like when we see the people beyond the Washington gasbags and the make-believe glitter of our media. It certainly proved that if you want to see what is going on, rather than listen to puffed up pundits, you'll watch events on CSPAN or maybe PBS.

The Convention, for all its great merits, was also sadly light on a subject that needs to be at the core of turning this country around: respect for the rule of law and ending torture. The current Washington decision to adopt the latter requires destroying the former. The current administration has gone a long way in that direction.

Two speeches stood out on this topic. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (pictured above) was very clear and got a loud ovation from the crowd in Mile High Stadium:

We need a president who in his first day in office says I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and then actually DOES it... We need a president who respects civil liberties, who will stop spying on Americans .... We need a president who respects the Bill of Rights ... We need a president who shuts down Guantanamo and stops torture.

Video.

Richardson also said bluntly what needs to repeated over and over: while recreating his image for the campaign, John McCain, that old POW, has even "even changed his mind on torture." See discussion of the McCain pander here.

The other speaker who forthrightly condemned the torture regime was the man who no longer has to pander to anyone, former Vice President Al Gore:

After [the Bush administration] abandoned the American principle first laid down by General George Washington when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would bring, in his words, “shame, disgrace and ruin” to our nation -- it’s time for a change.

Text and video.

A commenter at Open Left suggested that we heard condemnations of the torture from these two and not all those Democratic Congresscritters because almost all of the latter set at some time voted for measures -- Patriot Act, Iraq invasion, FISA -- that enabled the Bush regime. They are scared of being painted as "for it before they were against it." Richardson and Gore were outside that circle.

If we manage to elect Obama, we need to push him to fill his administration with many outsiders, people who aren't carrying the guilt and timidity that comes from having acquiesced in Bush attacks on the rule of law. It will be a fight to get them. Watch him.

2 comments:

Ronni Bennett said...

Catching up after a busy week, I landed here intending to skim the home page to see what you've been up to since I was last here.

Instead, I read it "cover to cover", top to bottom, word for word. Every story is solid, your commentary is spot on and I learned a bunch of new stuff.

This blog should be read wide and far.

sfmike said...

Not to be dismissive, ronni, but duh! Jan is the unheralded political journalist/essayist of our time.

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