It's hard for me to believe that we need to say that.
It's hard for me to believe that here, in America, we are having, in 2006, a serious debate about whether it's wrong to torture human beings.
This is the nation that was started over 200 years ago as a Utopian space -- and yes, it was. Go back and read the documents. Go back and read the letters and the journals of the people who created this land. It was not a Christian nation they meant to build: it was a utopion nation. What else does "more perfect" mean? What does "all men are created equal" mean? Do you think they actually believed that we were equal? They weren't idiots, those guys. They knew better than that.
No, what they meant by that was that we ought to be equal and that maybe here, in this country, in this space, we could build a place where that might be true -- if we fought for that idea, every day of our lives.
We do have to fight for it. Here and now, and with every move we make, and for every person among us.
What we can't do instead is decide not to fight for it. What we can't do instead is say morally slack rubbish like, "Well, it's okay to torture someone if he's really, really evil," or "It's okay to torture someone if he's the enemy," or"It's okay to torture them because they've done lots worse things to us," or "It's okay to torture them because -- well, look! What if the situation is this! They have a nuclear BOMB! See! And it's in the middle of NEW YORK! and they won't say WHERE! AND --"
It's not okay to torture people because that turns the tortured into objects and the torturer into evil monsters. Because it destroys human relationships and human connections and the human society forever. It makes a breach, a wound in the world, in society, that can not ever be mended. Could you forgive your torturer? I know that I cannot.
This is not rocket science morality. This is really simple morality. This is something anyone can understand -- it's so simple it's right there in the Bill of Rights, under Cruel and Unusual. You can look it up. And it is in the Bill of Rights for a reason -- they didn't just put it there because they needed to round out the list.
June is Torturer Awareness Month.
I'm appalled that we still need one.
Blog against torture, y'all: http://www.tortureawareness.org/