My wife informed me that today is Bloggers Unite for Human Rights day. And that sound like a subject that I want to be a part of - not human rights abuse, but the unity and awareness of the abuse of our basic rights in a hopeful and hope-filled effort to flush out such evil.
Generally speaking, though, when I think of human rights (certainly now in my progressivism), I think of human rights abuse. One goes along with the other like macaroni and cheese. However, the problem with acknowledging rights abuse is that rights abuse is done by the powerful and the abusive. (I contend that the powerful aren't always abusive, just mostly - and often efforts to stem or reverse the tide of their own abuse may work towards salving consciences, but rarely really end their power-abuse.) In other words, the few.
Which is fine in that it abdicates me of direct responsibility. I can blame, for instance, that US government, which has long tolerated, enabled and empowered terrorist and dictator tets-de-state that support what we supposedly support, or that basically condemns poor black men on sight to lives of poverty, inaction, crime and imprisonment. Or local governments for putting the desires of the wealthy (condominiums, attractive streets) over the needs of the poor (affordable housing, displacement of homeless).
The right to a fair and speedy trial, the right to legal representation, a right to vote, a right to withhold property, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom from torture... these are all important and should be fought for and over.
But personally, you, are and Sally and Jon are not directly responsible for these. These are political acts and can only be addressed through political means. There is a need to address something a bit more holistic, a bit more directed at - and hopefully worked from - the self. Particularly myself.
This should be my mantra: If every human being is made in the image of God, then every human being is equally precious, equally lovely, equally valuable. Every human should drink. Every child should eat. Every village should be resourced.
Put in these terms, this is personal. It's easy for me to get upset at George Bush and his cronies (ant the lax Senate that allows them to do so) for detaining anyone - let alone US citizens - without a fair trial or actual charges and terrorizing "information" or "confessions" out of them. What's harder is for me to consume less, discipline myself more, get out of debt sooner, get off my arse earlier and DO something - namely partner with and provide access to those resources for those who are in need of food and water.
Help me, Lord.