Desperately Seeking Habeas

I didn't get back from Portland until almost midnight last night, an entire day of sitting in planes and airports. And I came back to a steam bath.

Before I left for GA, I had made plans to have brunch with Miles and then together we would attend the "Day of Action (to Restore Law and Justice)" rally in Senate Park. Co-sponsored by the ACLU, Amnesty International, NRCAT (National Religious Coalition Against Torture), and others, the purpose of the rally was to protest the U.S. perpetrated torture in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and call for the reinstatement of Habeas corpus, which was effectively suspended with the passing of the Military Commissions Act.

The weather was SOOO hot and muggy, it was awful. The only thing that made the rally bearable was that the organizers did a fantastic job. First, they handed out cold bottles of water. Second, despite the long and cumbersome name, they kept the rally focused on this one issue, something we Libs have not been able to do lately. As speaker after speaker took the mic, the take home message was that protesting torture and the suspension of habeas corpus IS patriotic. One of our most basic American values is under siege by this administration and WE as citizens need to restore it.

Everyone was good, but the highlights for me were:

  • David Keene speaking for the American Conservative Union, showing that this is not a partisan issue
  • a trinity of religious representatives - a Muslim woman, a rabbi, and a Christian seminary professor (I think) - showing a united religious front against torture
  • Dennis Kucinich was a surprising engaging speaker, especially given the heat
  • Rev Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus rocked the house

There were a few sour notes. When a (presumably) Christian woman held up a sign saying that torture goes against Christianity, some dude wearing an "atheist" shirt heckled her. I heard one lone "boo" when the Conservative spoke, but for the most part he was warmly received, as he should have been. And when the rabbi spoke, again a couple of hecklers yelled about Palestine. It was aggravating - can we focus people, please?! But compared to other events it was mild.

Overall, it was a great rally, the kind that makes you proud to be involved. Now if only the press had shown up...

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative