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Welcome back.

I took this picture months ago while walking around Guatemala City. I did not know what it meant. Exactly three days ago, I looked up “Justice for Genocide” on Google and that was the day that General Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity–that last one always strikes me deeply–convicted of being inhuman, the first time a former head of state had been sentenced in his own country for such crimes. Good for you Guatemala. Thank you. The erosion of trust for the powerful is in full swing here in the United States. Barak Obama is presiding over three disasters–dead Americans in Libya, apparently left to die without backup, that’s bad. The IRS has apparently been exerting itself to overly investigate conservative non-profits during an election year–that stinks. Worst of all, the Associated Press has had their phone tapped for months and then their records confiscated in the interest of the public “interest”. I am not interested in that. I want an overly free press. Way overly free. Without that we are in danger of tyranny. I am a social liberal (fiscally I am probably a Libertarian). I am willing to wait for all the evidence to come out, and I don’t believe all the evidence will come out, before I make a judgement, but I am hard pressed to believe that any reason to target political groups unfairly by the IRS or that the Justice Department would ever have good reason to tap every phone at the AP, is justifiable. Can’t swallow that.

This Guatemalan dictator killed thousands. We have much to be grateful for here in the United States, even now, but the relationships between us and “them” is growing narrower. It is growing scarier.

I am thinking about justice and crimes. I am thinking about my side of the street. I am thinking about owning what I do to hurt other people and what I have to make right. I am also thinking about where that ends and where I stand up for the fact that I am a good man even though I make mistakes. This is something I don’t think countries do. Can they take this step? Can anyone tell me of a time when that has happened? For my purposes in my own life, it doesn’t matter except that I won’t look to nations to learn morality. Politics is a different subset of human endeavor. Ethics, ideals, morals, integrities–these are things that well up in me, in you, in the individual, but don’t seem to be a part of governments or politics. That is why it is critical that government exists to support the individual, both for freedom and responsibility (they are as tied to one another as the A and B sides of a record). When we rely on governments to define ethics, morality etc, we rely on an entity that will wiretap the press, allow the IRS to target unsavory sorts, etc. I need to maximal freedom so that I show up for my side of the street, clean it up and be a better man today than I was yesterday.

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2 Responses to Justice

  1. Stephen says:

    Stephen…you hit a home run here!

  2. Anne Archer says:

    3 days after you posted this picture, the Rios-Montt verdict was annulled, the trial rolled back to April 19 and the case is in limbo. Apparently inpunity lives on. Anyone who is interested in what happened in Guatemala should listen to the episode of This American Life entitled “What Happened at Dos Erres” – http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/465/what-happened-at-dos-erres

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