Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Arrogance of the Right

The arrogance of some conservatives is breath-taking. Regarding the detention of innocent people (Arabs in this case), one conservative blogger recently said it’s a risk he’s willing to take. Some risk, sitting in his nice, warm home while some poor shlup languishes in a detention camp, thousands of miles away from home. He is willing to take this risk, he adds, because:

"... we are not killing any of these folks. We’re just making them uncomfortable for a while. I have some faith in the human decency of the American character that if we do sweep up an innocent, that they will be released as soon as we are comfortable that they are innocent."

Ah, the human decency of the American character. So, according to this blogger it’s perfectly legitimate for our armed forces to go merrily marching here and there sweeping up innocents as long as we let them go eventually, after, of course, ascertaining they truly are innocent. How does our blogger propose innocence is determined? He doesn't say. Perhaps a little torture of the innocent to make sure … you know … the innocence of the innocent.

How far does this slippery-slope risk-taking go ... American minorities, liberals ... them?

I heard this from another conservative some years ago while debating the death penalty:

“I’m sure there have been a few (my emphasis added) people executed who should not have been … who were actually innocent of the crime they were accused of committing. But I’m okay with that as long as the most serious, dangerous offenders are put away.”

My god, I thought. What an incredible display of the shallowness and emptiness of conservative thought. To actually think it's perfectly acceptable for a few innocent people to lose their lives so others benefit, to provide satisfaction for conservative blood lust.

This sort of thought is prevalent in the conservative movement today. Mark Green provides a fine example with his disinterest of the rights of women. He cares not a whit about a woman raped, because the result of that violent ripping away of a woman's rights may become a child. It is not that child's fault, he says. Like our conservative blogger, Green is ready to take that risk, though he is safe from actually having to suffer the consequences.

This base neglect of the most basic of human rights … life … is also evident these days in the spoken views of conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, etc. are some of the more egregious examples of the emptiness of conservative rhetoric. Selling books, making money, disenfranchising and imprisoning innocent people ... anyone who disagrees ... has become the new patriotism for conservatives.

This coming election is an important one. I believe it will determine whether the American ideal still has a real chance. It will determine whether we, as a people, can survive this onslaught on our freedoms, reclaim our heritage and again become that shining light that the innocents of the world look to for hope. We cannot let conservative extremism rule us. We cannot become disinterested in the welfare of others, even while we battle those who would seek our destruction.

It is the height of arrogance to assume that we will be met with open arms by forcing our standards, our culture, our idea of democracy on other lands. When we are asked for help, we must be sure not to try to turn other peoples into clones of ourselves, to turn their lands into petri dishes for corporate greed. We must remember the reason why we offer to export democracy. We do this for purely altruistic reasons. We do this because it is the American ideal. We export democracy because freedom is something that should be shared.

0 Swings of the bat: