Happy Fourth everyone! My annual joke is that you guys might have done better to stay with us Brits--but we're working to re-colonize this place. Have you noticed how many British accents you hear these days? We're working underground to re-civilize the barbarians. Not much success so far, I have to say. Ah, well.
I've been thinking a bit more about that "excessive punishment" that Bush commuted yesterday, and frankly it galls me that this rich and powerful white guy should be the beneficiary of presidential sympathy while so many others pine in jail for far lesser offenses. Think only of those many thousands crowding our prisons for minor drug offenses; of those imprisoned for life for pecadillos under the vengeful "three strikes" law; of the president's special prisoners in Guantanamo, deprived even of the right to know the case against them, let alone to challenge their imprisonment. This president is the same man who, as governor of Texas, expressed not the slightest regret or sorrow for signing the execution order for many prisoners, many of them remorseful--like the ill-fated Karla Faye Tucker who died even though, like the man who rejected her plea for clemency, she had "found Jesus." (Read this excellent 2005 article on Governor G.W.Bush's remorseless implementation of the death penalty from The New York Review of Books.)
But when one of his inner circle gets caught in an act of perjury--an act directly connected with a larger action that affected the fate of the entire nation--our Bush suddenly finds mercy in his heart. Aside from the familiar cronyism, the only explanation I can find is that this act of mercy derived from pure self-interest, to protect what's left of the president's own tattered reputation.
I guess the Buddhist view is to practice goodwill--but Buddhism requires it to be practiced even-handedly, across the board, not selectively, for the privileged few. As I've said in the past, the big challenge for me personally is to find goodwill in my heart for those my heart tells me to despise.
Well, there's my squib for the day. Have good one!