Is This Really America?



When I read that 51 percent of Americans approve of the CIA torturing prisoners, I wonder what country I really live in. Of course, it could be the poll that skewed the results. The answers people give depend on the way the questions are asked, after all. But there’s the troubling possibility that the poll is accurate.

I am led to believe there may be truth in the finding when I see that 80 percent of Republicans gave torture their approval while most Democrats disapproved. It’s no wonder they call us bleeding hearts!

(Don’t you find it strange that the great majority of Republicans call themselves Christians?)

What’s with these people? Are they (some of them, anyway) secret sadists?

And if so, how do we “normal” people deal with fellow-citizens who harbor such perverted tendencies? How do we relate to neighbors who might be getting off on “50 Shades of Gray” and consummating their relationships with dog collars and whips?

And voting Republican to boot.

My religion tells me I should love them anyway.

But, Lord, you know it ain’t easy.

I don’t enjoy pain, and I don’t enjoy inflicting pain on anyone else. I think torture is monstrous. And torturing someone – even to prevent an act of terror — is morally wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

It’s as simple as that, Dick Cheney.

I am no saint. And when I read that barbarians have slaughtered more than a hundred children in a Pakistani school, I am as filled with rage as anyone. My instinct is to call for blood. An eye for an eye! A tooth for a tooth! Lay waste the offenders’ landscape, leave not one stone on another, not one barbarian alive. And, yes, make them suffer as they have made others suffer…

But when I search my heart, I find a different answer.

In my heart of hearts, I know love – not torture – is the answer. I believe Americans would be less at risk if the government spent their money on foreign aid instead of bombs and bullets, drones and spooks. Killing others, the good along with the bad, can only breed more hatred, more terror. Imagine how surprised those conspirators in Yemen and Pakistan would be if Uncle Sam took the money he spends on arms and bought food for their children.

Imagine, for example, how much good could have been done with the $81 million the CIA gave those two creeps who thought up the torture program. That kind of dough buys a lot of humus.

Dream on, you might well tell me.

But aren’t dreams the path to a better world? Isn’t it dreaming that sustains us when dark clouds gather overhead? Without dreams, where would we be? Back in the cave.

As a Christian, I am admonished to do good to those who hate me. I am instructed to love my enemies, bless those who curse me and pray for those who persecute me.

And I promise to try and love my neighbor as much as I love myself.

Even if they approve of torture.

Even if they wear boots and carry whips in the privacy of their bedrooms. Even if they vote Republican.

But, Lord, give me the strength.

Click to read about the poll.