The two Democrat candidates for president have both publicly stated that waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal. The lone remaining Republican candidate (who has himself been the victim of torture) has come out and said the exact same thing. The majority of Congress – both Republican and Democrat – have agreed with the candidates. The Supreme Court has also ruled against the Bush administration concerning their justifications of using waterboarding. The United States Army has determined that waterboarding is a form of interrogation that should not be used. However, yesterday the White House released a statement saying that waterboarding is not torture and the CIA will continue to use it in certain situations. Why? Because George W Bush considers himself king – the decider – and doesn’t have to follow and pointless checks and balances. When the United States got attacked on September 11th, 2001 people were shocked, wondering how these evildoing terrorists could attack the greatest, most fair country in the world. Even if there were people who were not able to put two and two together and come up with four – realizing that our actions in other countries, our killing 100’s of thousands of innocent people each year might have played a small part – it should still be obvious that we are making more enemies now. We suffered major causalities on 9/11 and we responded by killing innocents in Afghanistan, destroying Iraq and killing and displacing millions of its citizens, threatening Iran almost daily, and torturing anyone who we think might have any information about anyone who has the audacity to want to do us harm. When the US gets attacked again (hopefully not right before the elections of 08) I really hope no one is dumb or blind enough to wonder why. This is a chance for the members of Congress to prove our system of checks and balances can possibly work; lets give them some encouragement.
David Sirota wrote a piece for Truthdig today talking about (if I understand it correctly) class wars. He speaks about Barack Obama spending a lot of time as a youth in poor neighborhoods, getting the same education as Caesar Chavez, and then making a name for himself through grassroots organizing. However, now that it is time for a presidential run, now that it is time to start raising money from anyone he can, those roots are quickly forgotten. He is a man who can move crowds with his dynamic style of speech; and he does, but he chooses not to focus on something that could change the face of this country forever- a class uprising. There is no doubt that the people working two or three jobs to barely get by, watching their children get little to no education, and being ignored by the lawmakers, would love to vote for a candidate who encourages him or her to stand up to the powers that be. There is also no doubt that the “haves”, the one or two percent who actually control most of the money and power, would aim for the head of someone preaching for lower class rights. It’s the middle class that gets confused, the people who have just enough money to think that they are moving towards the upper echelons; the police officers, military women and men, teachers, and lower level politicians who would take the side of the rich and powerful in any kind of class war. Obama knows that if anyone can appeal to these people, he can. Yet he chooses not to because the political system we have is so fucked; in order for anyone to get in any kind of office above the local level, they pretty much are forced to take money from corporate donors. Once a couple checks are deposited into that candidate’s bank account, that candidate is owned. As long as this continues, things will not change for the better. As long as we have no one to point out to the middle class that the rich do not care about them, no one will ever rise up. There are people out there yelling for anyone who can hear, but not enough people will hear until we have campaign finance reform- whatever that means.