I'm not very glad to be a Yank these days. Cops have been killing unarmed black guys as long as I can remember. And yet it still happens, and the punishments for jay-walking continue to be worse than for killing a black kid. Everyone on the planet knows that the CIA tortured people (and killed some of them) in the years following the September 11th attacks even if they didn't know all the details. What I find so new and shocking is the eagerness of so many people these days to defend the indefensible.
The problem with policies driven by revenge is that eventually you find that when you look into the face of your enemy, you look into a mirror. And let's face it, what really drove these CIA policies was fury and hatred, not any real desire to extract useful information. Dark passions like revenge have always driven government policies, especially when dealing with hostile foreigners. There are a lot of people defending our huge sell-out of our own founding principles as a "necessary evil." Somehow by doing evil we prevented evil from happening to us, which in the end makes us evil and twin to the very evil we are trying to stop. If this is what we want, some primordial chaos of perpetual warfare of all against all, then why bother to even pretend to have anything like the rule of law? Why not just have a state ruled by over-awing power? The jackals with sharp teeth won't bite us anymore because the state is our tiger.
We would no longer be bound together as free citizens, but as subjects in fear and partners in crime. In such a world, it hardly matters who wins and who loses since everyone, including us, would be a predator. Is that what we really want? Benjamin Franklin famously said that those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. Those who would throw out the rule of law for revenge must take their chances with the sword and become the crime that was done to them.
I've always defended this country in the face of its many detractors (certainly on this blog), and now, I quit. What I thought was really the "last best hope" of humankind in the end is nothing more than another empire destined to go the way of all other empires. In my heart of hearts I really believe, and continue to believe, in all those founding principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and so eloquently restated in the Gettysburg Address. But we don't believe in our own founding ideas any more than the Chinese really believe in their ideological crap. There are times when I think that the Decline and Fall can't come fast enough. Maybe out of the ruins of the Empire we can recover and rebuild something like the American Republic. But, I'm not so sure anymore. Great crimes were committed and no one will be held to account for any of it. So who gives a rat's ass anymore? We've crossed a line and have no interest in backing away. Bring on the imperial corruption and decadence. That's what everyone seems to want anyway.
At this point, I'm not voting for anyone in 2016, and I'm feeling sorry I wasted my time for the last 38 years.
Goya, Saturn Devouring His Children, circa 1821 - 1823