Thursday, February 05, 2009

Reading at Puckett's

I hadn't been to my favorite breakfast spot for a few weeks, so this morning I decided to head to Puckett's. It made me happy inside that as soon as I walked in, I was greeted by the waitresses and Pam, the one assigned to my table, after bringing me a coffee and a water said, "Leiper's Fork, 12 Grain, scrambled, with bacon?" She knew exactly what I wanted, because that's what I often order. It's good to be known.

While at Puckett's, I read my way through The Week, a weekly news magazine that doesn't mess around with long articles. It summarizes news coverage of major events in the US and around the world, including editorials. Anyway, there was a half page on the Talking Points page with the heading "Bush: Did he keep us safe?" It began by quoting a former member of the Bush team who claims that we'll probably be attacked again soon because Barack Obama is putting an end to torture and violent interrogation techniques. The half page went on to summarize various viewpoints on the issue of torture and staying safe from terrorism.

I suppose my response to this is affected by my recent reading of Walking with the Wind by John Lewis of the civil rights movement. Over and over, Lewis talks about the need for the means of accomplishing ones goals must match the ends one is seeking to achieve. In his case, he had the ideal of a Beloved Community in which race and gender do not dictate one's position in society...a Beloved Community of peace and non-violence. As I read about and hear debates about torture, interrogation techniques like waterboarding, and suspension of Habeus Corpus, I am often concerned that this "safety" we are trying to achieve/sustain will be false, in that we have compromised the safety of "the bad guys" so we can feel secure. Why do we deserve to be safe if we have compromised our values of human dignity and respect? Who should we expect people in other parts of the world to engage us in peaceful ways when we invade their countries or at the very least supply their enemies with tanks and weaponry? I suppose I often come back to the question of why safety/security is held as such a high value. Why is that the trump card? Why are we willing to sacrifice so many other values in the pursuit of this amorphous conept of safety and security?


bsmith said...

Ignorance/prejudice=fear, and fear breeds ignorance as well....vicious cycle. We need a "world-saving" talk sometime soon!

it's like that bumper sticker I've seen and liked: "Why use guns and hate to teach people that guns and hate are bad?" (Something like that anyway...)