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United States disengages from the Human Rights Council
two stripes
Americans should be ashamed of their government. To be more specific, they should be ashamed of one Condoleeza Rice.

As a nation that was the big bulldog in the pound regarding the abolishment of the Commission on Human Rights and the construction of its replacement, the US's refusal to seek a seat on this council is very telling. The official statement says that the reason the US is backing away is because there are other "strong candidates" from the West who voted in favor of creating the Council, unlike the USA, and that "they should have the opportunity to run." The US refused to join in on the consensus that created the council: they claimed that the new council lacks "strong mechanisms for maintaining credible membership." Considering the United States' long and storied history within international councils of trying to be the big man in control, the fact that they stormed off in a huff when they found out some countries they don't like would be participating in the council doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Remember this next time a human rights topic comes up. Like how minority Americans are more likely than whites to be wrongfully convicted, especially in cases where the punishment is the death penalty. Like Gitmo, or the detainees on the floating prisons in the middle of the oceans. Like how many Americans want to make homophobia a constitutionally-protected right.

Colorado managed to pass a constitutional amendment banning antidiscrimination laws regarding homosexuals. A court challenge ended with it being struck down, but interestingly enough, the only justice who felt that it was constitutional to ban anti-homophobia laws was later appointed by George Bush to the Supreme Court. (His vigorous dissent was based on the opinion that the amendment was intended only to prohibit "special treatment" of homosexuals. To quote, "If it is constitutionally permissible for a State to make homosexual conduct criminal, surely it is constitutionally permissible for a State to enact other laws merely disfavoring homosexual conduct." This quote is from 1996; the law Scalia is talking about was struck down as unconstitutional in 2003. Predictably, justice Scalia dissented at that court case as well, stating that if 'the public thinks certain sex acts are amoral' is enough justification for Alabama to ban sex toys, it's enough justification to criminalize homosexual sodomy, but not heterosexual sodomy.)

Not only is the US disinterested in human rights violations abroad in any way other than purely as a publicity stunt, their own justice system perpetuates violations of human rights that are then upheld by the supreme court justices anointed with love by one George W. Bush. Go ahead, right-wingers, vote Republican. Two more years of government-sanctioned hate. While I'm disgusted, saddened, and frustrated by the US's decision to be uninvolved with the UN's Human Rights Council, I am not shocked. After years of living next to this country, I've learned one thing for certain: The only fair treatment the United States government will advocate for is the fair treatment of white, heterosexual, middle-to-upper-class men and that will not change for a long, long time, as long as it takes to complely refresh the system with the blood of ethical individuals. Until that happens, don't expect to see the United States fighting for anybody's freedom -- and if you see the government advocating for a "fight for freedom" of such design, it's likely only a pretext. It is, after all, how they got Iraq to give up the oil.

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most americans are disgusted by parts of our government, probably more so than other countries, because our government sets the standard for how we are seen and we hate it. we hate the stereotypes that are created by how our government and how a few awful people in the country act. hopefully with a new president coming in this winter we will have a chance to change our world community image.

I don't know about more-so-than-other-countries, because some of the third world countries are particularly bad, but I would agree with "more so than other developed countries" ... I have friends who have sworn to never travel to the United States, even on an airline stopover, because they don't trust the law enforcement or the government not to detain them unjustly.

I myself am extremely cognizant of the fact that the law enforcement in the U.S. is very different from that in Canada: the RCMP would never level a gun at my head during a routine traffic stop, whereas I've heard of this happening several times to several friends who travelled to the U.S. The RCMP train for six months at a paramilitary base after a rigorous year-long screening process; country cops in the States are elected in some places and receive training that is pathetic in comparison to the way mounties are trained.

The common question when I talk about this is "why do you hate the U.S." or "why do you have problems with Americans" ... honestly, the answer is that I don't. I just love my country because of some truly great things, and I get upset when I see the U.S., who's a country with ten times the people and ten times the resources and a hundred times the clout that Canada has, squandering her power on the world stage, when she could make a difference. Canadians go peacekeeping. Americans go to war.

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