Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Monday, December 12, 2005

America IS Human Rights

Check out this post from on the response of some of the scarier GOP-types to McCain's sponsorship of a anti-torture bill. Remember, this bill is merely the legal codification of pre-existing military anti-torture guidelines. The post is a solid read, but what floored me was the very first comment, made by a lady named Jennifer, a.k.a. Feral Genius, who seems to be a regular reader of the site. Her thought was so true, so cutting, so simple, so ready-for-the-bumper-sticker that I couldn't believe I hadn't heard it before.

When exactly did we reach the point where being pro-human rights made you anti-American?
For me, this question cuts to the heart of one of the most disturbing qualities of the torture debate: that to defend the pro-torture position, one must cease to consider America as an idea, indeed an ideal, and think of our blessed country only in terms of territory circumscribed by political boundaries.

But those who truly love America know differently. To those who truly love America, the question of whether or not America will champion human rights is a meaningless question. It is meaningless the way the question "can water be dry," is meaningless. Because just as water and dryness are incompatible, so America and torture are incompatible. America IS human rights. This is what separates our great nation from the Swedens and Switzerlands and Serbias of the world. We are not a nation of a certain peoples, but a nation of certain ideals. Our founders did not describe all citizens as created equal, but all humans. Can the "Mother of Exiles" decide whether or not she will remain a beacon to the world? Lady Liberty does not lower her torch at a whim.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

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