Wednesday, August 03, 2005

An Argument For The Soul Of America

(P1) Political and (P2) Philosophical
-The two, at times, are inseparable-

While I would prefer that comments to my postings contain the name of the writer somewhere in the text of the comment, I choose to pay attention to this particular unsigned dissenting comment for reasons that should prove obvious:

Did you ever wonder why not a single communist guard, dictator, prison administrator or executioner ever went to trial in the defunct Soviet Union or in China, Cambodia or other countries where 150 million were slaughtered in the name of Lenin? Have you wondered why leftist 'liberation' armies in all the world's theaters have license to bomb, murder, rape and hold hostage while those on the right defending against such atrocities by using the same methods and tactics are hunted down and brought to trial?

My answer is - Because, even if you, my unidentified reader/commentator, are correct in any of your premises, then my answer to why we should choose not to "...murder, rape, hold hostage...(torture)..., etc" is because We Are Americans.

On his latest HBO Comedy Special, Bill Maher, says that whenever he describes some of the problems with our administration in power, some of the more close-minded spew, "Well, he hates America!" Maher retorts, "I don't hate America. I love America! But sometimes, I'm so embarrassed! I feel like saying 'I'm Swiss'" That's also the title of the show.

In his column of August 2, 2005, Bob Herbert describes a senate conflict between Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. and Sen. John Mc Cain, R-Arizona. The debate was over legislation that would explicitly "prohibit cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody."

Sessions said "...there was no need for it because, as he put it, the detainees are not prisoners of war, 'they are terrorists.'"

McCain (who certainly knows more than all of us put together about the results of torture and maltreatment as a prisoner), responded that the debate " not about who they are. It's about who we are." He concluded that Americans "hold ourselves" to a higher standard.

So, we are Americans, and Americans, like you and I, have grown up living by the two most fundamental principles of ethics:

(1) The Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." Or, today, "Do unto enemy combatants as you'd have them do unto our combatants."

(2) "The End Does Not Justify The Means."

Not altogether surprising, the comments I received regarding the Charles Krauthammer column, which I included in a recent posting, ran virtually 100% against his recommendation that obvious non-terrorist types be excluded from searches at airports. Yes, Dan, I can be "seduced" by logic. I'm not always consistent in my points of view, and I tend to like that about myself. Still, in the spirit of the present piece, I definitely will have to go along with the need to respect the rights of the smallest minority, even if only a minority of one. Somehow, writing this also produces a very real hesitancy because I have a visceral sense of being caught between the rights of the one and the convenience and right to privacy of the many. Still, if we must err, it has to be on behalf of "the least of our brethren." It brings to mind the allied issue of sacrifice which is something very few (other than our soldiers) are really being asked to do by the political powers that be...but can't we at least exclude the 85-year-old ladies in pink jump suits?!

Seriously, what is great about America is its soul. Let's all argue for a recognition of and a return to the true soul of America and all it has stood for in the world. America, once again, must be exemplary in its behavior at home and abroad. Only then can we bask in our own light.

- Ed Coletti - August 3, 2005 -

(P3) Poetical


The time clearly here to believe no one whose skin
we cannot touch within a two-day journey.

I mean like "War is good" "War is bad" "War is coming" "Stop the war."

What will touch of skin determine about the merits or demerits of warfare?

Smooth tough hairy porous ennervated flesh pink and pulsing, warm and sleek,
cold and swampy, skin as membrane, skin as fabric, skin a curtain.

Skin is not woven tightly to be torn.

The TV screen is only so much frozen sand.

Let us touch the skin of those we know to try to really know.

Edward Coletti - 2003

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john c said...


klookamop said...

Two years ago, my Uncle Bob (then 77) and I (then 63) were at LAX waiting to fly to Chicago. As we approached the concourse to the boarding area, we walked through metal detectors. Uncle Bob set it off, while I walked through with no trouble. Security guards asked to step aside and frisked him.
Is Uncle Bob a terrorist? Hardly. He is a retired butcher. During World War Two, he learned how to cut meat while werving on the U.S.S. Bennington, a Navy aircraft carrier in the Pacific.
The reason he set off the metal detector is because he has a metal pin in one leg, the one where he had an artificial knee installed a few months before our plane flight.
He likes to fly. And he has flown several times since our 2003 trip to Chicago. In fact, he took flying lessons and obtained a pilot's license in the late 1960s, something he always wanted to do.
But Uncle Bob is not a terrorist. He has always resembled Mickey Rooney, and he is no more of a terrorist than Andy Hardy.
Uncle Bob would be the first to say "Search Me!" when every fifth person is searched. He has nothing to hide.

Anonymous said...

Don Raboin wrote:

Thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring Blog Site.


Anonymous said...

good job eddie,

Anonymous said...

"Seriously, what is great about America is its soul. Let's all argue for a recognition of and a return to the true soul of America and all it has stood for in the world. America, once again, must be exemplary in its behavior at home and abroad. Only then can we bask in our own light."

You may have opened Pandora's Box on this statement, Eddie. Take a poll in 2 to 3 countries on the 5 non-North American continents (you can skip Antartica, although penquins might have an interesting veiw point) asking what is the true soul of America and what has it stood for in the world. Ask a mix of under-30's and over-60's.
Oh, yeah, you should include several Native American nations, too.
Maybe I'm missing the true soul of America.
I really like your blog. I don't agree with everything, of course, but then what fun would that be?