What Shall We Pledge Allegiance To?

By Thursday, December 11, 2014 5 0

Normally at this time of year I write about celebrating the holidays in ways that make us rich in what matters. You may be familiar. Best low-cost and no-cost holiday gifts.
How to break the rules at Christmas. Christmas as community, not stuff.

But today — this week — something is looming larger than the holidays, for me, at least.

It’s the Senate report, five years in the research and writing, that documents how our country (the C.I.A.)  tortured prisoners in the wake of 9-11.

Extensively. Systematically. For years.

Torture paid for with our taxpayer dollars.

One example of U.S. torture is a form of rape euphemistically termed “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration”. Waterboarding, which is near drowning, is another.

Torture sponsored by the nation to which we pledged allegiance every day back in grade school.

Government-sponsored torture makes a travesty of the notion that humans can be rich in what matters.

Torture is moral bankruptcy.

It’s an effort to kill the spirits of others.

Torture is the ultimate I-It relationship (I am a person, but you are an object).

Here is my bottom line:

I don’t want to pledge allegiance to a country that tortures.

It doesn’t matter that 9-11 frightened us and killed some of us.

As human beings, we always choose how we respond.

I want to pledge allegiance to a country that refuses to torture.

Readers, what did you think and feel when you found out about the Senate’s report on the C.I.A.’s use of torture?

photo courtesy of Amnesty International

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Michael Fortune
    December 13, 2014

    . . . Precisely as you feel, and almost what you think except you have expressed our common outrage so well, so succinctly.
    I am reminded of the 2002 street marches in opposition to a war in Iraq, which had not yet started. I was out there marching by the Capitol and the Supreme Court yet felt so marginalized and rather ineffective. The whole country and most of the media were marching to slaughter the “bad guys” in Iraq, and everyone was Jingoistic. That was when the US started to torture prisoners in Guantanamo, though we did not know it till later.
    I invite you to speak your words above with all your passion at the Eco Voices club of Toastmasters. I have not heard anything about torture in this (otherwise conscientious) group. A great way to spread your message.

    • Alison
      December 16, 2014

      Michael, Thanks for sharing this. I too marched in 2002 against the war in Iraq. Jingoism, i.e. extreme, unthinking patriotism, does indeed help to set the stage for torture and the justifications that always accompany torture. I’m glad you pointed this out.

      I’m interested in speaking at your Eco Voices Toastmasters Club. I’ll talk with you soon about that.

  • JohnnyK
    December 12, 2014

    IMHO the U.S. Government is out of control. If this happened who is supposed to be watching these people? Where was the “Office of Inspector General” when this allegedly was happening? I would like to know what our President has to say about his C.I.A. and these allegations. After all they work for him? Was he aware of what they were doing and if so why didn’t he stop them with his Executive Orders? Then again the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits such acts not that our Constitution means much anymore to those trusted to run our country.

    “I pledge defiance to the Flag of the Lying Broken States of America, and to the dictatorship for which it fell, one Corrupt Nation under Evil, totally divided, with captivity and injustice for all.”

    Should this be the new pledge? I guess this is what you get when you remove God from the equation.

  • Sue
    December 11, 2014

    Well said. The trouble is, the Pledge itself is full of all right words and sentiment. How do we help thise who act in our names to understand it the way we do?

    • Alison
      December 12, 2014

      Well observed, Sue. My answer would be: through education and even more, through direct pressure. In too many cases, the leaders who act in our names are not interested in the principles that we are.