Thursday, June 28, 2007


Tuesday afternoon after a little more painting (our glaze didn't turn out the first time so we had to paint it over actually, but now we are on track) we went to our first DC rally. To my way of thinking, this one was a no-brainer, a rally to end torture in America, so I even got into it. The rally was just to the north of the Capitol Building, so it wasn't even that far. Which was nice, because it was pretty hot and humid out and just walking that far was plenty. A couple of thousand people showed up, some people behind us had bussed in from Albany NY, and they mentioned a bus from the midwest somewhere too, so then I felt even more lucky that I live here now.

Any event where politicians speak is bound to be somewhat boring, but due to the emotional nature of the topic people stayed fairly riled up throughout. The night before David and I had watched the episode of "South Park" where Cartman saves the town from hippies, so we were making hippy jokes throughout, but really there weren't that many of them, it was a big cross section of people, Democrats, Republicans, old, young, rednecks, snobs, all sorts of people.

Something fairly interesting in my political journey is how I seem to be getting more conservative as I get older, and yet the Republican party is moving away from true conservatism at a rapid pace, leaving me stranded somewhere between being an Independant and a Libertarian. I like a lot of socially progressive ideas, but already my limited experiences with health care are reminding me that I think people should have a good dose of personal responsibility for taking care of themselves. (And be free to make the "wrong" choices if they want.) But to me this torture thing cuts right to the chase. I can get over President Bush's veto of, say, stem cell research. Agree or disagree, there is a valid argument either way. But to me he (and Cheney and Yoo and Gonzales and Rumsfeld) are stained forever with all their fancy disassembling when it comes to torture. Every day it becomes more clear that they signed off on this from the very beginning, but it is still just that girl in the photos that is sitting in jail. They sacrificed her to save themselves, thinking that would be the end of it. What kind of leadership is that?

McCain didn't show, but several senators did (FYI Ben Cardin from Maryland was the best speaker). But by far the most effective was a woman representing a group of people who had been tortured by governments. In her case it happened in Guatemala twenty some years ago. She spoke most fluently about the dangers of letting your government have the power of detaining and torturing people in secret. She was a teacher, and broke down when she told us that under the double-talk definitions of what our President has signed off on, then what happened to her doesn't qualify as torture anymore. Under the new rules, her being forced to dance naked for guards, having them urinate on her and put out their cigarettes on her breasts doesn't even count as sexual assault anymore. Everyone loves using the ticking time-bomb scenario, but in the end the only point of torture is torture. It is evil on the soul, and I don't think we should sacrifice our troops souls. They deserve better. Our country deserves better. I so wish Elizabeth Hasselback could've been there.

Another thing I learned - people who like Dennis Kucinich, *LIKE* Dennis Kucinich. Wow. I hardly heard a word he said because of a few people around me who were screaming like maniacs through his whole speech.

Bonus: free t-shirts.


  1. I cry out against torture as well - in the USA - or in any place on planet earth. My father was tortured in a nursing home until he died and my family never felt that the powers that be did anything to prevent it or to bring those responsible to justice.
    Having said that I have to continually remind myself that many things we hear from the media, from outspoken individuals, from politicians, or from ANYONE who gains in anyway (fame, fortune, whatever) must be considered with some degree of scepticism.
    There is a vast difference between the interrogation of criminal terrorists and the torture of innocent people. The delineation is a fine line that citizens who are not trained or charged with the protection of their country can easily make.
    Let us acknowledge that we must always be vigilant to let our leaders know we will not condone torture, but let us also acknowledge that there is much we do not know, cannot know and that somewhere in this world there must be trust that there is a reason we cannot allow the bad guys to overcome us by paranoia that our leaders *are* the bad guys.
    There are instances of soldiers going over the top and adminstering torture. That is BAD. These are always the examples used to make the point that our leaders have willingly 'signed off' on torture. But how often will we ever know when a Taliban leader was interrogated and forced to give over information that has kept our country from being attacked again since 9/11? Bearing in mind that national security requires certain measures of secrecy to BE national security, can we really be sure our leaders are not doing what must be done and are using measures that terrorists would consider baby play?

  2. In most areas of my life, I've inheireted your optimism mother. I instinctively believe the best about people and expect the best outcomes. But the exception is politics. You are right, that a healthy degree of skepticism is warranted when it comes to listening to people with an agenda, which covers any politician for sure. But I'm not making wild guesses about torture, the facts are there. If you believe Clinton was lying when he said he never had sex with Monica Lewinsky, then you have to believe Bush is lying when he says we don't torture. It is the exact same kind of word game.

    Also, the delineation you make between interrogating criminal terrorists and torturing innocent people isn't what this rally was about. No one objects to terrorists being interrogated. But, and this is my opinion, does not mean they should have water poured on their heads to make them think they are drowning, or have their little children arrested and told the kids will be killed if they don't cooperate, or be sexually abused and humiliated. Do I think terrorists should be put in jail and prevented from doing anything else? Of course! But I don't care how evil they are, what is great about America is that we don't stoop down to their level to retaliate. And we certainly don't leave it up to politicians to make unilateral decisions on who is guilty or innocent.

    Posts like this are hard to write, even if I think it is a great exercise to help define what you believe. But jeez Mom, does your first post on my blog have to be so difficult? LOL

  3. omg, your MOM. well, i guess i could have written my torture comment then.

    may i just say that i really look forward to the day i can have conversations like this with my children?

  4. yeah, i'm tripping out that that was written by your mom, too. I geuss maybe if she is reading your blog, I'll have to try real hard to not see all the innuendo you write in here. I mean, I don't even think my mom can spell blog, let alone read mine.

  5. My mom totally rocks. Where do you think I developed my voice of reason? ::grin::