Only YOU Can Prevent…

April 29th, 2009

Forest Fires? No, we don’t need Smoky the Bear here but the same spirit of responsibility is required. Yes, you. If you witness someone in the forest dropping a lit match and do nothing, you burn along with the rest of the squirrels.

I was reading Maureen Dowd’s latest commentary on the torture issue. Entitled, “The Vice’s Secret Vices”, she offers her own version of the way in which that congressional interrogation might have gone. In an alternate universe, of course. But my smirks of appreciation rapidly disappeared as I read the comments being left by readers for that bit of fluff.

Some asked if this were a real transcript of the hearing. Hmmm, the less said about that, the better.

Others concerned me because they were demanding our politicians take care of this. Now. Get it done. So, of course, I had to write back and tell them to stop fantasizing about reality and create it.

April 29, 2009 11:06 am

Ms. Dowd,

Thank you for reminding us via satire that only WE can instigate proceedings against criminal activity in any form. The public forgets that all war is a ‘crime’ in one form or another, even when waged in self-defense. This is why citizens must participate at levels above and beyond the casting of votes. Our officials are unlikely to initiate proceedings against former military leaders unless it is clearly the result of strong public outcry. They may be the next to answer for intentional actions, or unintended consequences, of their own military choices.

Issues of corporate oversight are no less urgent since the degree of harm to the public from environmental crimes is no less an ‘invasion’ of our domestic existence. The pollution, soaring health care costs and tanking economy is torturous to both voting and non-voting citizens (normally labeled ‘consumers’ to show us our place in society). Our elected leaders, whose campaign chests were filled with corporate dollars, can hardly lead that charge without evidence of overwhelming constituent demand. Try visiting an oncology ward and you can see further evidence of ‘torture’ resulting from unceasing exposures to marketed carcinogens. The Delaney Act won’t be enforced any more than the Geneva Conventions, without our direct intervention.

Let’s remind ourselves of the ‘Obedience to Authority’ studies by Milgrim in which college students were prepared to torture others,(or break the law in a more recent version of this study), to curry favor with wielders of authority in academia. If our youth is prepared to harm others and commit crimes for better grades, we’d better get busy assessing our own internal standards for accountability regarding what goes on around us.

These problems can only be addressed through our own actions. Tell your representatives what you wish to see done in your name.

Categories: NY Times, Published

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