Barack Obama will have spent his first several days in office issuing a series of executive orders which, some quibbling and important caveats and reservations aside, meet or actually exceed even the most optimistic expectations of civil libertarians for what he could or would do quickly . . . .
His Guantanamo order exceeded the expectations of most of us here. Alcohol is prohibited at the temple except for “special celebrations”–and this was deemed a fit occasion.
Even with beer, it was hard to get in the mood. The (beginning of the) end of a terrible situation isn’t normally joyous, but rather a time for sober reflection, and so today’s White House vigil was a prayerful memorial, spent remembering what’s happened at Guantanamo, and what is happening at this minute. People dressed as detainees broke character, took off their hoods, and read passages by or about the detainees. We began and finished with prayers.
Matt Vogel was working the crowd, and thought many of them “got it”:
Bud Courtney reads:
Many have talked about prosecution of US war crimes as being part of a “truth and reconciliation” process. With this memorial, I think we are exploring what non-judicial means we can employ to heal the scars. A good start.
I haven’t seen anything better on the dawning of the “Obama era” than this typically great clip from Jay Smooth: