Yesterday was a disappointing day. No, nothing went wrong. I had no real problems, except a somewhat difficult blood draw for my annual check-up, and the news that my husband’s malfunctioning wiper would, like most things on our cars, cost a small fortune to fix – when the part finally gets in. An unfortunate thing in the snow, but certainly not insurmountable.
My crises were all existential. An overdose of, somewhat malicious, negativity got to me.
First was a meme on Facebook that I quite honestly didn’t even understand – but I think it was intended as a humorous poke at a particular basketball player. But it came at the expense of the Eric Garner “I can’t breath’ shirts. And there is nothing even remotely humorous about what happened to Garner, and I didn’t understand the air conditioner reference. So it wasn’t funny (to me), and I’m not sure it should have been to anyone else. And I was troubled by the posting because the poster is generally not an unkind poster. So I let it go uncommented. The second was a truly horrifying meme shared by someone whose political views have always been far, far to the right of mine, but who also is not usually that over the top. I was going to go back & comment on it once I’d gotten my thoughts together, but the poster had taken it down themselves by then. But you can’t unseen a thing once it’s been seen, so here I am. It was a share of a Dinesh D’Souza post that was pushing the ‘what’s the big deal about the torture report’ rhetoric that a certain element has been selling since the Senate released the report. The ‘waterboarding rumpus’ – Mr. D’Souza expressed his view that he’d rather be waterboarded than beheaded. Lovely. And irrelevant. No one is pretending that beheading is appropriate, or justifiable, behaviour – so can we quit pretending that torture is an okay thing? And stop making false comparisons? What hell is wrong with people? The only real surprise about the Senate report, besides that it was released at all, was that the problem was far more widespread than I’d assumed. I’m still trying to digest all of this.
The scope of the torture – and the lack of useful information it apparently produced – should inspire a national moment of reflection. Not excuses, not snark, not false equivalences. Valuable information is rarely gained from the use of torture, so what is torture really but institutionalized sadism. And those of us that think it is acceptable, even with the known limits of its effectiveness, may need some additional reflection on why they think that way. Thirst for revenge, maybe? I followed the post back to D’Souza’s page and was further appalled by the comments – which seemed to largely be along the lines of ‘kill the scum Muslims’.
Not a good day for my views on human nature.
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
— Reinhold Niebuhr