Archive - Nov 6, 2008

Truth and Reconciliation

When South Africa elected its first Black President, they set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate human rights abuses during the years of apartheid, as well as address the needs of victims and consider amnesty to individuals that applied. Should the Obama administration consider something similar?

Many of my liberal friends want to see Bush, Cheney other members of their administration tried as war criminals. They want to see people that they believe have subverted the constitution by secret meetings with lobbyists to establish policy, particularly energy policy, that have used the powers of the Judiciary to pursue opponents and disrupt voting, and a list of other offences brought to justice. They want to see titans of Wall Street that have contributed to our current financial malaise face prosecution.

Such actions might bring gratification to many, but will it bring about the change that President-Elect Obama has called for? Or will it be just another chapter in a long list of victors punishing the defeated?

Instead, if we follow the example of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, we could find ways to get to the bottom of many of the problems that have faced our country over the past eight years. We could make progress in curbing the divisiveness and petty partisanship that has so damaged our democracy.

How much change are we willing to take on? Are we willing to change ourselves as part of this change? It will be interesting to see if President-Elect Obama can get partisans to sacrifice some of their partisanship for the good of the country.