June is torture awareness month and there will be a march on June 24 in Washington D.C. and silent vigils on the Capitol on June 26, 2012 to let people know that since the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) has recently been passed, the instances of torture in America and elsewhere have heightened. The UN International Torture Act says that torture is always wrong in any country or on any people.
Warrantless wiretapping, domestic spying , racial and religious profiling by American law enforcement as in New Jersey mosques by the NYPD is a definite erosion of people’s constitutional rights. The child of parent torture is the ostracization from jobs, services, housing; basically discrimination in all forms.
What does this mean for students in California and elsewhere? It means that the awareness that you are not special should be student’s awareness looking to live in a global society in the 21st century. David McCullough, Jr., a Wesleyan English teacher giving the commencement speech in Boston told the graduating class to remember that even though it’s their special day, they need to know that they are not inherently special. I believe that all high school students should listen to this speech The heaviness of the subject is contrasted with the lightness of laughter that the speech provides.
It is not a laughing matter, however, that the talking points for torture awareness affect everyone’s civil and constitutional rights. Students who are interested in the rule of law and constitutional law, and they should be if they have any regard for President Obama since he is a constitutional law scholar can take some inspiration from the speech. It is not funny when physicians uphold human experimentation; it is not funny when attorneys uphold policies that use torture and invasion of privacy to gain information, as in “enhanced interrogation” tactics, and it is certainly not funny to use drones on innocent civilians anywhere in world.
If telling a group of elite Ivy League graduating high school students that they are not special is like throwing some icy water on their special day, then the soft points of a bubble wrapped existence temper the carpe diem message.
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