One thing that's wrong with America

From an article on Mother Jones titled “Am I a Torturer“:

In survey after survey, as many as two-thirds of Americans say torture is justified when it’s used to get information from terrorists. In an abc/Washington Post poll in the wake of the 2004 scandal, 60 percent of respondents classified what happened at Abu Ghraib as mere abuse, not torture. And as recently as last year, 68 percent of Americans told Pew Research pollsters that they consider torture an acceptable option when dealing with terrorists.

If standing someone up on a box, putting a hood on their head and then attaching electrodes to various parts of their body isn’t torture I sure as hell don’t know what is (Satar Jabar, by the way, was charged with car jacking and not terrorism).

There’s a troubling trend in America, in my not-so-humble opinion, and that’s that we’re in a sort of dark ages about what’s considered “liberal”. The following things will get you labeled, at best, as an idealistic hippie and, at worst, a terrorist sympathizer in this country.

  • That everyone, everywhere should have access to clean air and clean water and, in order to guarantee such things, we should put heavy environmental restrictions on both corporations and the federal government (the worst polluter in the world by most standards). As a guy who heavily supported using environmentally friendly detergents once told me, “Republicans don’t want to regulate what corporations and the government puts into the water supply. Who the fuck doesn’t want clean water?” Indeed, who doesn’t?
  • That war is bad. Since when did we go from being a neutral country to being the global bully willing to blow anyone and anybody up? I don’t disagree with war. I fully support what we did in Afghanistan and the recent strikes in Somalia. I just don’t see why everyone is so pumped up about war. It’s shitty and leads to us being perceived as total assholes.
  • That everyone should have basic access to some sort of health care. Humans are exceptionally empathetic. We’re always willing to lend a hand to someone who’s sick, but Americans will be damned if we help those lazy welfare bastards stay healthy so they can just mooch more off of our hard earned money. Guess what? I know people who make “good money” ($40, 000 to $60,000) that can’t afford health care for themselves and their families. We also have about 8,000,000 uninsured children.
  • That the death penalty is both hypocritical and inhumane. I, literally (and horribly), can’t wait for the first innocent person to be executed. Personally, I think it’s already happened and we just don’t know it yet. But, mark my words, in our (Gen X’ers) lifetime we’ll see a man or woman who has been killed (murdered?) by the government posthumously exonerated with DNA or other forensic evidence. I, personally, can’t stand the thought that my government might kill someone someday who was innocent. I’d much rather we just lock them up and throw away the key. Also, the death penalty cases cost us a bunch of money in comparison to just locking them away for life.
  • That the War on Drugs isn’t helping. We spend about $19 billion a year on the War on Drugs (and untold more on prostitution). I say we legalize it, regulate it and tax the shit out of it. I’m a huge fan of vice taxes as we’re basically taxing the people who have the highest burden on state services. To put it another way; we spent just over half of that ($56 billion) on the entire Department of Education in 2006.
  • That you don’t have a right to tell someone else what they can and can’t do with their body. This covers everything from who inserts what into whom, who has which procedures and what people put knowingly into their own body. Stay the hell away from my body. It’s not yours; it’s mine.

Call me a tree hugging, terrorist loving, dirty ass hippie if you want, but I believe the above and think it’s ludicrous that I’m a “dirty hippie” rather than a “a person with common sense”. So, how do we fix it? I think the following would be a pretty good start.

  • Abolish the death penalty with a Constitutional amendment.
  • Legalize drugs and prostitution. Once that’s done heavily regulate them in the same manner as tobacco and alcohol along with heavy taxes.
  • Sign the Kyoto Protocol along with drastically increasing the EPA’s funding. Interesting side note is that the EPA was created by Richard Nixon (I use this little nugget to warp my fellow liberals’ minds).
  • Drastically cut military funding. Use that money for medical, technical and environmental research. Or build some huge ass solar power plants in Nevada.
  • Raise the emission standards on cars to 100mpg (phased in over, say, a decade). We have the technology now and this measure would create a little more pressure on those idiots at Ford and GM to get moving on that. VW is about to release a car that gets 70mpg so it’s plausible right now.
  • Create a Constitutional amendment that secures the rights of one’s own body in all matters. I’d throw in something about not discriminating people based on sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Create a national health care system that covers children under the age of 18 for all medical costs. The coverage would be lowered to “simple” medical coverage for adults (e.g. You could get your broken arm fixed and medicine for your cold, but that $1,000,000 cancer treatment will require outside insurance). Australia and New Zealand have a two tier system like this and, according to one former US citizen in NZ told me, it works fine.

If that makes me a hippie then so be it.

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