Who We Are
It is times like this that we discover who we are. It’s at times like this, when we are most challenged, when our beliefs are most challenged, that we discover the strength of our values.
The Boston bombing suspect has been captured alive by the FBI, but there are some who are are already trying to take us down the “war on terror” path.
Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted:
The Obama Administration needs to be contemplating these issues and should not rush into a bad decision.
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) April 19, 2013
I don’t like it, but I get where Graham is coming from. There’s a part of me that wants the suspect to pay in excruciating pain for what he’s done, for the families whose loved ones he’s stolen from them. Gitmo isn’t good enough for him, a part of me thought. It was, truthfully, my first response to the announcement of his capture.
But this lower self is not who we are meant to be. This is why we have laws. This moment is what tests our belief in the great experiment with democracy. Our laws must apply even when it’s hard, or they are worthless.
We got it wrong after 9/11. But we can get it right this time.
We are better than Lindsey Graham urges us to be. We are better than terrorists. We are better than allowing ourselves to be directed by fear and anger.
We must rely on the towering principles upon which this great country was built.
I have enough faith in our flawed justice system to prefer we trust it rather than throwing the suspect in Gitmo. We can’t make an exception in democracy for this one case, or we are giving up on our system. We can be united in the glory of democracy, and refuse to fall into the pit of vengeful despair that unspeakable acts of terror invite.
I trust this President to reach out the best in our nature, rather than appealing to our fear. I trust the American people with the grave responsibility of coming together rather than turning on one another.
There have been too many of acts of terror recently, but none of them made us turn on people who looked like those suspects. Let us not fall victim to our fears or rage, but rise up to be our best.
Let us not fall for the militaristic, jingoistic patriotism of brutal revenge, but rather invest ourselves deeply in embodying the true spirit of patriotism. Patriotism is based on an affection for our fellow compatriots; not a hatred for our perceived enemies. We stand united and fierce against our enemies, but we don’t let their actions change who we are or turn on one another.
Our values are being tested, and I believe we can get it right this time.
Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here.
Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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