Wednesday, June 18, 2008

two reasons to be proud to be an American...

R. Kelley was acquitted, and the Supreme Court overruled the Bush Administration on Guantanamo Bay.

Regarding R. Kelley, it is good to know that the phrase ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ can still be literally interpreted in a climate that leans towards the guilty until proven innocent motif. It is common knowledge--at least common gossip--that Kelley has a penchant for under aged girls. Kelley is also bombastic, rich, shamelessly flashy, and hard to separate from the R. Kelley portrayed in the Dave Chapelle parody. He’s not a sympathetic character. Yet still he was let go. Not because he was innocent: there was a reasonable doubt in the mind of the jurors that he was, indeed, the man in the video. In a culture that enjoys stark blacks and whites, this is hopeful news.

Even a guy like R. Kelley can get a fair trial in the U.S.A.

And the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Bush Administration on Guantanamo Bay Detainees. They now have access to our federal court system. This is good for a few reasons: 1) it restores to the United States the role of trailblazer on the issue of human rights. Conservatives angered by the court’s decision often argue that no other Democracy in the world has such a policy as this. Damn straight. We are raising the bar for the rest of the world with this ruling, and pulling the rug out from beneath extremists throughout the world who would paint us as torturing, inhumane thugs. 2) The ruling will also increase transparency, which has been a problem with this administration. Not only will the rest of the world see that America is making moves to retake it’s rightful place as the shining city on the hill for the rest of the world, perhaps some of the doubters here at home will see it to.

Many conservatives in this country tout globalization because of the potential it creates for trade and the export of capitalism. The tongue-in-cheek foreign policy notion that no country with a McDonalds will bomb another country with a McDonalds is also often employed to show that such unrestricted commerce will unify the world. I agree with this, and think it is in vein that liberals try to resist it. Instead of resisting globalization, we have to make certain that we're not only exporting double-cheeseburgers, but human rights as well. Everywhere there is a factory in the developing world, there should be a union. Corporations should be held accountable for the way they use the resources of the countries that they operate in, and other governments need to see such forward looking decisions from prominent countries like the U.S. as the Supreme court ruling on Guantanamo bay.

By allowing these detainees access to our court systems as opposed to trying them in opaque military tribunals, we will hopefully set standards that will lead to accepted norms of treatment similar to those established by the Geneva convention. The detainees are going to be tried regardless, and the A.C.L.U. is going to be buzzing around any such proceedings anyway. If everything has been operating as above board as the administration has claimed, they should be more than happy to comply with the ruling and to put the naysayers in their places. After all, as long as there is a curtain, anyone can speculate as to what is behind it.

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