The ruminations of an artist on art & life...art quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Liberty and Justice for ALL

As we celebrate the birth of our country on this 4th of July, let us not forget that it was a Quaker woman ---Betsy Ross---who sewed the first US flag. This thought inspires me as I contemplate what being a citizen of the United States of America means to me.

At this point in my life and in the life of our country, I actually have mixed feelings about being a US citizen. I have done enough traveling in other countries--including to Russia and China---to know that we do indeed have many human rights--(including freedom of speech) here in the US which people in many other countries do not have.

However I find myself saddened by the actions of our current administration---particularly in the use and defense of torture against any perceived "enemy" of the US. Each day seems too bring more information about the abuses inflicted on men and women held by the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, and US prisons around the world.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
—The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 (1948)

As a US Citizen, I believe that torture should be as unthinkable to US citizens as slavery is. This 4th of July, the United States should affirm the values that are its pride and strength. Habeas corpus allows a prisoner to challenge the legality of his/her detention in a court of law. It is one of the oldest and most important checks on arbitrary governmental power.

In 2006, at President Bush’s urging, Congress passed legislation permanently eliminating the right to habeas corpus for certain people—non-citizens whom the executive branch declared to be “unlawful enemy combatants.” The legislation defines such combatants to include people who have never been anywhere near a battlefield, much less fought against the US. Any of the 11.6 million non-citizens living in the US could be detained indefinitely without charge or judicial review.

I do not believe that removing "enemies" or non-citizens rights and torturing them will do anything to protect our country from future terrorism. As Ghandi said, "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind." We must tell Congress to restore habeas corpus and send a message to the world that even dreadful acts of terrorism cannot shake our national commitment to the rule of law.

I write these words as an American patriot--- (patriot, noun. : a person who loves her country and gives it loyal support) who believes in liberty and justice for all.

1 comment:

jerry'sdaughter said...

Good to read the comments of another liberal politically aware knitter!