by Patrick Devlin
In today’s fractured American polity, there is really only one thing that is likely to be agreed upon by all in any size gathering of citizens in the “home of the brave”: not one of us agrees with, respects, listens to, follows the lead of or considers taking the advice of the popularly elected denizens of Washington DC.
Strange this consensus, as we are told by both of the corporate sponsored political parties that America is hopelessly politically fissured. Especially during an election year when citizens are riled into a state of partisan warfare by repeated media references to a politically divided America.
The fact is, both parties agree on almost everything; such as awarding banking felons with free money, letting corporations write the laws (whether about how we will be treated when we are sick or how much taxes they should pay), allowing polluters to decide how (or even if) they are going to clean up their toxic messes, which countries to bomb to splinters with no declaration of war, how close we nuzzle up to land grabbing criminals in the Middle East and how none of us deserve privacy or a secure retirement. But, the voters are told and really believe that America is hopelessly divided with no hope of agreement.
Even still, statisticians tell us that there is a consensus amongst Americans of every political persuasion: that congress is both inept and corrupt. A Gallup poll from September 2015 revealed that 79% of Americans feel that congress is “out of touch” with reality, 69% said that congress members represent special interests rather than the voters, and 52% say that most members of congress are corrupt.
We can see from these numbers that the political establishment is likely to not inspire respect from our citizens, much less be considered worthy of their support or attention – and even less, its members to be considered as any type of role models for average citizens.
And, this notion gives me hope – strangely, as we historically have looked up to our leaders for inspiration.
This is because the obnoxious and dangerous inhabitants of Washington think that bombing children, listening to our conversations, enabling oligarchs and plutocrats, destroying the middle class, dismantling the safety net, limiting our freedoms, while making nice with corporate despots and theocratic strongmen, is the best course for our country and the planet.
Makes me smile that our citizens would never possibly be encouraged or inspired by the anti-intellectual, bigoted, militaristic, bought and paid for political self-servants who write our laws.
This is especially the case when one reflects on the broad agreement amongst presidential candidates when it comes to protecting the homeland, where the Democrats agree that we must support the child bombing religio-fascists who occupy Palestine and are strangely silent on drone murders and inescapable surveillance, the Republicans talk of carpet bombing and collective punishment of Muslims and even the lamest of recent lame duck presidents tries to score points by “closing down” the US torture center of the Americas in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – and necessarilly imprisoning non-charged and in some instances, inmates who have been found to be completely innocent, in American jails (as apparent from the plan Obama has thus far articulated) until these detainees perish in dank federal jail cells…God bless America.
And, even as we may have thought that the nightmare of our nation being a proud purveyor of illegal torture ended with the legally wayward GWBush administration, we now bask in the unbelievable spectacle of our Republican presidential candidates, many but not all, reminiscing for those bygone days of abject criminality as they clamor in a darkly enthusiastic fashion to see more American torture (or should I say, American exceptionalist torture).
The now no-longer-an-aspirant lady of the crew, Carly Fiorina told Yahoo News that torture, specifically water boarding, is a tactic that should be used “when there is no other way to get information”, even though the US Army War College says that their research advises that torture does not produce usable intelligence and the congressional report into American torture found that no useful intelligence was uncovered. Fiorina disagrees stating that the report “undermined the morale” of our torturers and that “the evidence is clear” that America’s illegal torture worked miracles and protected the homeland. Fiorina even reminded that the whole noxious medieval enterprise was “supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases.” Thank god for our safety conscious torturers.
Candidate Trusted Ted Cruz was more legalistic, being a Harvard trained attorney, as he opined that waterboarding did not meet the legal definition of torture because it did not threaten the loss of “organs and systems” in the unlucky humans that needed to be tortured in to keep our homeland safe. Cruz said that simulated drowning is “vigorous interrogation” but “does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.” Although this is the case, Candidate Cruz confided that when enhanced interrogation is “employed at low levels” he is concerned that “bad things happen,” raising the prospect that even he may have to waterboard a human. “Rest assured,” Cruz promised, “as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.”
Candidate Double-Down Donald Trump, when confronted by these would-be could-be terror torture competitors could not restrain himself as he assured his angry and agitated acolytes, “you bet your ass” he would bring torture back to the American homeland, “because it works.” The consummate salesman added, even if “it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.”
It’s difficult to argue with that logic…I mean, I would be terrified if I had to argue with someone who expressed that kind of “logic”.
Thankfully, we hate our corrupt politicians and would never consider them as role models or exemplars of proper conduct or morality…they are politicians after all. Unless you think that your girlfriend is chatting on social media with another male member of the homeland behind your back.
A 22 year old American living in Wisconsin was arrested recently for abusing his girlfriend for nearly a year. Dylan VanCamp, who was charged with six felonies and three misdemeanors, is alleged by police to have waterboarded his girlfriend to force her to admit she was unfaithful. Trend?, you ask (referring to our headline); another suburban sicko citizen, named Frank Deodulo Guerra, this time in California, was recently arrested for locking his girlfriend in a dog cage (30 inches by 48 inches with the inside height of 32 inches) for months (September through January) while he was away from his dungeon at work. Although these wretched humans are wholly to blame for their actions, and certainly not to suggest that the young sadists are not smart, I know where they got this idea. And it is the same place from which the above referenced candidates got their tough-guy&girl talking points on torture.
Torture made tough-guy criminals in the GWBush Administration feel bass-ass. And, our torture predilection is not simply a partisan affair where only acknowledged evil people in the minds of Democratic party members took sick pleasure in inflicting pain and death on so-called “evil-doers”. The disgusting anti-system of justice and land of laws practice of “extraordinary rendition” (although begun under Reagan&GHWBush) was carried forward by lawyer Bill Clinton and “preserved” by the lawyer and constitutional scholar, Barack Obama.
And, enlightened people of the twenty first century that we are, we countenance the act and clamor for more evil-doers to demonstrate our sadistic exceptionalism on – to mutilate, humiliate, terrify, render insane or simply torture to death. Even when we all know that torture does not uncover reliable information. And, it further diminishes America, in the eyes of our children and the world. But we, red faced, huffing and puffing, stomping our feet and threatening anybody who mentions morality and law, demand to torture more ‘evil doers’. Demanding and torturing…the American way.
And that is the connection between our American home-grown regular every day psychotic sadists who carry out their personal pogroms of torture and our American exceptionalist presidential torturers – both justify their moral descent, from the offering of the open hand of a human to embrace community to the threatening with the leather clad fist of the torturer to inflict demonic pain on innocents – because they know that their victims (alleged girlfriends or alleged jihadis) “deserve it anyway.”