When I was 13 going on 14, because I had done so well in the previous year I was promoted into the science stream instead of the arts stream which contained subjects like History and Literature that had always been my forte. Unable to cope with the work because of a deficiency in Math, I started to act up until I had an interview with a teacher, who soon stripped me of my adolescent tough guy veneer and reduced me to tears.
He subsequently taught me the most important lesson I ever learned during the years I spent in school.
He told me that it would not really matter how much I learned in the various subjects; what would be most important to my future was the development of my moral character.
To demonstrate this he said suppose I broke a window and nobody had seen me do it, would I have the courage to confess and take responsibility for that mistake even if I knew that telling the truth would lead to my expulsion from school?
The thing is, if you do not admit your mistake, it means that you will repeat that mistake; and, further that your inappropriate behavior will perforce become worse and worse, more and more evil and reprehensible, until one day you wake up to the knowledge that you have passed the point of no return.
When I saw the photographs that depicted the atrocities that occurred in the Abu Ghraib prison it was clear to me that the soldiers believed that were carrying out legitimate orders and that they had the support of the Brass otherwise they would not have been foolish enough to pose for those pictures.
As usual, I KNEW then what Americans are discovering now, that President Bush while pretending to support the troops, while creating the spin that those who had reservations regarding the Attack on Iraq were unpatriotic – that they were putting the soldiers in danger by not presenting a united front with regards to the war – while presenting this line, he allowed soldiers who were carrying out orders crafted and mandated by his Administration to go to jail for so doing.
This situation seems to take on a whole new dimension of depravity and malfeasance with the report that describes the sodomizing of male children while their mothers watched.
I have long suspected that a deal was struck between members of the outgoing Bush Administration and the incoming Obama Administration that no one would be held responsible for this outrageous, amoral behavior. Perhaps the quid pro quo being that President Bush would not be implicated because of his role in it – if evidence that members of the Obama team were implicated in the Governor Blageovich scandal was suppressed. That could be the only reason the Obama Administration would have difficulty letting justice take its course.
But there was always an overriding imperative why justice had to take its course, a functional imperative, if no one is made responsible for this, arguably the most depraved chapter in American history. The nation will never get past it. It will always dog the footsteps of Americans, it will always be the nadir that will ensure that Americans sink deeper and deeper into a cesspool of corruption and depravity.
I want to identify a link between the fact that President Nixon was allowed to resign after evidence emerged that he was complicit in the Watergate burglary, that President Reagan’s criminal actions resulted in the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger was swept under the carpet of history, that President Clinton was not forced to resign after adding a head giver to the lexicon of presidential support personnel, that President Bush won an election after contriving justifications to launch the Attack on Iraq. These incidents are precedents that produced the quilt of moral depravity that this nation confronts today which has resulted in a crisis in every aspect of American life.
This is, without doubt fundamentally a moral crisis.
This nation is not built with steel, or cement, or aluminum, it is built on intangibles, truth, courage, honor, and justice, it is time for Americans to remember this and put the world of anything goes behind them. It is time for Americans to connect the dots and come to the realization that the fundamental change that must occur in this country is a moral revival. Without this all else is meaningless.
William E. Virtue
P O Box 17682
Memphis TN 38187 – 0682