Alex (yakshaver) wrote,

Proud to be an American? Not so much.

I was brought up in The American Civic Religion, with its Saints, Washington and Franklin; Jefferson and Adams. And its Martyrs, Lincoln and Kennedy; King and yet another Kennedy. But the patriotism I was brought up with was not uncritical, not one of those religions where faith trumps reason. There was a bumper-sticker popular among the jingoistic set when I was little: "America: Love It or Leave It". My mother put up a hand-made version at the anti-poverty organization where she volunteered: "America: Love It and Improve It'. Not especially catchy, but true to her version of patriotism, and to mine.

I have never felt such pride in my country as on Election Day, 2008, when I stood in a line around the block to vote for the most able Presidential candidate of my lifetime, and later watched television with a room full of friends as he won.

But Obama is not the point of this musing. I'm typing this in the waiting room at the RMV, and never have I been so grateful for the lack of television in a waiting room. On the drive over, Science Friday was interrupted by a special news bulletin: the jury in the Tsarnaev trial had finished their deliberations, and would read their verdict at 15:00. They then went into a bunch of analysis, and I switched to a music channel. I suppose they have announced his fate by now — certainly will have done by the time I finish and post this. I am in no hurry to know.

Little has made me more ashamed of my country in recent years as watching as the US Attorney put all the resources of their office into arranging the judicial murder of a stupid kid. All ostensibly in my name.

It sickens me. The only one with anything to gain from this is the US Attorney, who can spout off about being tough on crime in some future election. The rest of us — every one of us, by every metric — we all lose. As taxpayers, it cost us far more to pursue the death penalty than not. It will cost us even more if the jury has agreed to kill the kid, as we trudge through appeal after appeal. All, if it were ultimately to succeed, to add a fool kid to the body count of an already horrible event. Hooray for the USA!
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