There is one thing that seems to be a very subconscious human trait and that is a desire for some kind of retribution when responding to the violent or antisocial behavior of others. Even though a given group may profess one thing in a given situation sometimes they will tend to reflect the same kind of treatment back upon those who mistreated them in the past. When that isn't possible they can even go so far as to transplant that kind of treatment onto a future social or political foe. Such is the case with our own CIA it seems with the kinds of interrogation techniques used against terrorist prisoners. It has come to light that many of their tactics have bordered upon torture and even may have violated the terms of the Geneva Convention. Investigations are underway and the results have yet to be released but preliminary reports suggest that criminal actions may have actually taken place.
That happened in the prison at Abu Gharaib where prisoners were tortured for no other reason than to humiliate them and degrade them in a kind of revenge for their actions. This is contrary to what we profess as a people but human traits are often deeper than social constraints. Sometimes in our anger an eye for an eye is the only thing that gives us some sense of resolution. I am not saying that is right or wrong but just noting that as being a typical human reaction. I do not want to inject my personal feelings into this discourse. My intent is to open it up for discussions among any readers who may stop by.
Inevitably there are always two sides to every story. Some are critical of such actions while others cheer them and support them. We are seeing the same things with the Israelis in their reactions toward the Palestinians. While it is easy to understand Israeli anger over indiscriminate attacks by the Palestinians one wonders about whether it is appropriate to retaliate in kind and kill innocent women, children, and civilian noncombatants? Some have likened their actions to a kind of slow holocaust similar to what was dealt to them by the Germans from the Third Reich regime. Is genocide the only answer here? Don't Palestinians also have a right to have a home land and to exist in peace?
So far I have only talked about nations and social groups but this attitude extends even into the individual. We have cases where individual justice is meted out on a personal level such as the case where a teacher was stabbed to death in France because the mother felt that she had treated her child unfairly or the father who severely beat a teen boy almost to death for sexually abusing his son. Both in some ways may seem like just a parent protecting their child but one has to consider possible mitigating circumstances such as perhaps the child had earned such criticism from the teacher or perhaps the teen boy was mentally ill or had been mistreated himself in the past. We have courts and legal systems established to try and fairly determine guilt and responsibility and to mete out punishments that are befitting the infractions. Blind rage is all too often misguided and often punishes the innocent. That even happens in our present day legal system as proved by recent DNA vindications but at least we made an effort to be correct and didn't just lynch the first suspect that arrived on the scene.
Mind you I am a dedicated fan of discipline from a very early age in any society. That includes limited and reasonable forms of corporal punishment when appropriate. However I am not particularly a fan of a lynch mob mentality where so called justice is too swift and too irrational and possibly inaccurate. True justice cannot originate from rage. This is especially true in cases involving the possibility of the death penalty. The whole concept of justice is that it be fair and equal for everyone. Unfortunately in most societies there are various degrees of so called fairness. When wealthy and powerful people can get off or receive minimal punishment for indiscretions based upon their status that is of course wrong but alas that is how it all too often is. It is just another example of social dichotomy.
As a result we like to say that America is the land of the free yet freedom depends upon the social constraints of our society and therefore is actually not so free when you think about it. Ones freedom depends largely upon ones social status, your wealth, and your political influence in our society. For example if you or I get caught with cocaine or marijuana we get prosecuted to the extent of the law yet when a Congressman or a Mayor or a Governor get caught they all too often get off with nothing more than public censure and maybe being forced out of office. If you are a celebrity you do a stint in rehab and all is forgiven. In short equality of justice is rather an arbitrary thing in American society.
Even in our daily lives we frequently say one thing and then do another completely opposite thing. We profess to be religious yet are capable of some very horrendous and unreligious behaviors in response to an offense or un-liked behavior from another human being. We insist that we are being fair when in reality we are only demanding compliance to our own wishes and personal standards with little regard to fairness. We promise our children that we will always be straight with them then fill their heads with nonsense whenever a subject comes up that we ourselves are uncomfortable with such as drugs or sex. We recoil in horror when we hear of the terrible mistreatment of children in other nations yet we balk and reject them when they stand at our gates and ask for our help and assistance. In short we are a total dichotomy in every way and our responses to any given situation can vary widely unlike most of our brethren in the rest of the animal kingdom who normally react in very predictable ways.
As I read todays headlines I was prompted to wonder about how unpredictable and indecisive people could be. If our president responds to something in one way he is criticized by one group but if he responds in a way that satisfies them then he is pasted from the other side. I believe it was President Abraham Lincoln who commented something to the effect that "You can please some of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time." That simple witticism is profoundly apropos to todays world I think. We have "so many sides" to every argument and discussion that there really is no simple common answer. Unless we can come together and find some kind of common ground so that we may find middle of the road answers that placate all or as many as possible sides reasonably then we have no progress and instead become a very dangerous and unpredictable entity that is capable of total self destruction I am afraid.
Instead of holding fast and each side demanding total acceptance of diametrically opposed positions we must find a way to meet in the middle and try and please as many as possible from both sides. That is the only way any progress can occur. Unfortunately our two party system has become so adversarial that it is actually becoming toxic to the nation as a whole. In addition the level of opposition in or Congress is increasingly spilling into the public attitudes as well and it is producing some really significant "side taking" that often causes rage and anger to surface among the common people on the street over political and religious issues in our nation. In short we are forgetting how to get along and stand as one. Remember, "United we Stand Divided we Fall." Lets stop being divided folks. Lets quit being such a dichotomy and start moving back toward the center again. Many of our ideological foes would like nothing better than to see America self destruct and are poised to take advantage of any perceived national weakness. We are playing right into their wildest dreams with our constant internal strife and bickering and it will destroy us unless we change it and soon. I am hoping for some major miracles in 2016 even though I don't particularly believe in miracles. I can still hope though. LOL