whither Guantanamo?

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Where is the outrage over Guantanamo, seven months after the election? Why hasn't our political "detainment" camp in Cuba, our festering national disgrace, been shut down yet?

And while I'm on the subject, where is my right to habeas corpus? Where is my right to protection from coercion or torture? Where is my right to privacy? Where is my right to assemble and speak? Where is my country?

Why don't these absolutely fundamental issues even appear to be on the agenda of a newly-ascendant Democratic Congressional caucus?

I'm afraid I may already know the answers to these questions: Its leaders are actually quite content, even happy, with the way things have been arranged by the current regime, since they can now look forward to enjoying the spoils themselves when the Presidency passes to their team twenty months from now.

In 2009 it will become their oil, their war, their empire, their lobby money, their regime, and we may well find that we have only traded one king for another.

If this is a democracy, we're all tyrants - and beasts.

I will probably be repeating this post regularly, since I don't expect things to change soon, if ever.


[image, otherwise unattributed, via salvationinc]

All we get is lip service. We're all tyrants, indeed.

The beast part is also true, although we don't necessarily have to be cruel, misbehaving beasts. We're equipped, after all, to overcome those urges.

We have to hold on to hope, though, or soon we'll echo the defeatist slogan: "It's all so goddamned bleak."

I had already found it impossible to agree with you about the possibility of holding on even before today's news reporting that the Democratic Party hacks in Congress had signed onto a perpetual Iraq war and occupation. Now I know beyond any doubt that there is absolutely hope left.

It's more than bleak, Christopher. It's over. There is no representative government here. Millions poured into the streets four years ago, finally the antiwar movement won a real victory in the November elections, and the population is now overwhelmingly in favor of getting out of Iraq, but it's as if it hadn't happened.

Absolutely nothing changes. Well, no, I take that back; there is change, but in fact it's in the form of a "surge", and everyone here and in the Middle East, everyone except those who invented this war, will continue to pay for it - in every way - for decades to come.

This country has committed suicide.

James...it's easy to say and harder to do, but I really don't think we can relinquish hope and be left with anything. I, too, was dismayed by the news this morning, but if we all continue to represent, voice and act on what we believe, hope springs eternal.

As a pragmatic environmentalist who reads a great many of watchdog releases and follows ongoing debates/challenges, it's all too easy for me to despair. In fact, I spend a goodly number of hours each month doing exactly that. I'm an animist at heart and I feel physically wounded by the dire forecasts and the disappearing tracts of "wilderness." Personally, I feel we are all animists by virtue of our being here, composed of the same stuff and planted on the same shared soil. Yet we act these days as the proverbial cancer so many reactionaries rant about. For me, personally, there is room for hope only when I actively engage in response efforts myself, as you and Barry do with the causes close to your heart.

Of course, all of these "causes" are intimately related: environmentalism, social justice, equitable economy. To ignore one in favor of the other is wrongheaded, but it allows an individual to focus on a task that may allow them to have an impact. Your good works may seem irrelevant given recent goings on in Washington (and the heavy ripples that radiate outward from policy, good and bad), but I assure you they are not.

But maybe that assurance rings hollow. Maybe I'm just another flailing wretch. Maybe I'm a pessimist under a thin, smiling veneer. Maybe that explains why I find peace in contemplation of scales superficially removed from our own: the cosmos/multi-verse or the interior worlds of particle physics. Maybe such contemplation is just escapism...but I find in those intellectual and imaginative spaces reason - though it is truly greater than reason - to hold on to hope, to light a thousand fucking candles to push back the darkness, to borrow E.O. Wilson's line.

If each of us lives our lives honestly and goodly, James, common sense will win out, if punctuated by fits of hemorrhaging madness and ignorance. I have to believe this. It's more than a mantra.