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Saturday, May 8

America's Dark Side Exposed

Bush told the Arabs that the nature of American people is not reflected in those photographs from Abu Ghraib. In a way he is sort of correct. I personally don't torture people and then take pictures of them. I imagine that the large majority of Americans do not do that. I imagine that most Americans do not intentionally torture or harm others.

But there's a lot of them who do apparently. Don't we have more prisons and a larger percentage of of the population in prison than any other country? Ideally we'd like America to be crime free and safe. Makes sense. But we have deep dark secrets that most Americans don't even want to know about. The prison situation in Abu Ghraib was based on our prison system in THIS country.

When do "frat boy pranks" cross the line? What exactly do "frat boy pranks" say about the character of these individuals who enjoy humiliating initiates who want to join secret societies? It's certainly an issue of power and control. Is it a virtue or does it enforce our base nature? If it supposedly means nothing, then why not have initiates do a month of community service? It's not appealing to them.

Maybe there's a fine line, a very fine line between a guard and a prisoner. Maybe the only difference is that one is on this side of the law and the other one is on the other side of the law. That is not a blanket statement obviously. But we know that there are thousands of instances where this is true. Not everyone who goes into their chosen profession, does so with pure intentions. Clergy and teachers may deliberately set out to deceive and hurt children. Cops may join the force to deliberately act out their personal biases and prejudices. Some soldiers just may really be keen on killing people.

What kind of men run for governor in a state that has the death penalty? Either the kind of man who wishes to abolish it or the kind of man who wishes to enforce it. It's either/or. You can't ignore it. What kind of person signs up to be an executioner? If that person did not get a job on the right side of the law, perhaps he would be one of the criminals behind bars. What kind of people sign up to be interrogators? You certainly can't be a wimp like me. There are people are willing to use fire to fight fire. That's the dirty secret behind living in a democracy.

As human beings, just like anywhere else in the world, Americans have a dark side. Luckily most of us try not to think about it or act on it.

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