Guantanamo Prisoners Don’t Appreciate Indefinite Imprisonment?!
Evidently a few recent ex-Guantanamo prisoners have taken up arms and joined the battle, writes the Guardian, and it would seem inevitable that shouts of “We should never have released them in the first place!” will echo across the internet in coming days. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the “libertarians for Trump” using it as an attack against Obama.
The truth, however, is murkier and not as simple.
To be sure, Obama should have kept his promise to shut down Gitmo, and it breaks my heart that there is not a word said about the illegal military prison in this election. Thankfully, President Obama ostensibly ended the unforgivable torture of prisoners (euphemisms like “detainee” allow us to obscure simple truths that shouldn’t be obscured), but that was only one demand we millennials had of Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack I’ll-bomb-ya, and we’re not entirely sure it’s been kept. Without the transparency we were also promised, we can only take the administration at its word, and the American government has never said a word that I’m willing to accept on faith.
Of course, shutting down this one unconstitutional military derailment of rights and liberty would have done nothing to solve the problem. The prisoners would simply have been moved to one of our Bastilles in Libya, Iraq, or Sudan. We’ve known for years that we have these moral outrages scattered across the globe; without a change of fundamental policy, closing one means nothing. It sets no one free, and it solves nothing. Worse, it serves to placate us, as the public example is stripped down, leaving us with only vague whispers of sister facilities that we can’t campaign for closing because we can’t prove they even exist.
I would be mad, too, if I had been imprisoned for several years, up to a decade, without a trial, without an attorney, and without justice. If I was tortured throughout those years by being forced to listen to pop music, deprived of sleep, and having feeding tubes shoved down my nose when I exercised the only method that I had of protesting, I would be angry, too. If I was forced to stand for 43 consecutive hours, waterboarded, drugged, and beaten, I would be a little pissed off, too.
So as Americans gear up to enjoy their typical circular reasoning that we have to bomb countries to make them into terrorists, then imprison them and torture them, but never release them because then they might become terrorists, I’d like to politely remind everyone to ask themselves:
Wouldn’t you be mad, too?
How many years of unjust imprisonment do you think it would take before you were ready to take up arms against the state that imprisoned you?
I certainly don’t advocate the initiation of violence, but you’d have to be certifiably insane to think that the U.S. weren’t the ones who initiated violence.
“How Dare You Try To Help Me?”
Students who borrowed money to go to ITT Tech are protesting and refusing to pay back the loans, saying that they now have useless credentials. It wasn’t terribly long ago that I talked with someone on Disqus about his student debt, how it wasn’t fair, and how he shouldn’t have to repay it. I pointed out to him that no one made him take out loans, and that college doesn’t have to be expensive. I incurred no debt from going to college, and neither did my aunt (the only other college graduate in the family), who has a master’s degree.
In the fifth grade, I was receiving stuff from Duke University. I stopped caring about school and stopped applying myself, but I could have applied myself. I just didn’t realize how important it was. Even being from a dirt poor family in Mississippi, I could have gone to Duke University on scholarships. I probably still could if I tried really, really hard, but it would be because I’m transgender rather than because of my merits.
I left college with zero debt. It’s not impossible to do. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Someone once suggested that I go to ITT Tech. I do, after all, have a degree in the Management of Information Systems. That’s right up ITT Tech’s alley. But I didn’t. Instead I opted to attend a child school of the University of Mississippi, and then the University of Mississippi itself. Why? Why did I make that choice?
Because I trusted Ole Miss. There was no reason to trust ITT Tech.
I could very easily be one of the people faced with student loan payments with a degree from a school that is not useless. Jesus, hyperbole much? ITT didn’t lose its academic standing. It lost the ability to take students with the state paying the tab. Your degree is exactly as valuable as it was a year ago.
In Personal News
I interviewed Monday for a slot tech position at one of the nearby casinos. While I’ve not yet heard back, I’m confident in the interview and would say there’s a 70% chance I’ll get the job. That would be incredible. After six months I’d qualify for a transfer to another property, and could simply transfer to their property in Vegas. Additionally, the increased wage and regular hours would give me more than enough money to do it.
I was also contacted by an agent Saturday morning requesting the rest of Dancing in Hellfire, which is phenomenal news. First, this is the agent who I initially sent it to, and who I believed would want to take the manuscript. Two months passed, so I began to think I was wrong in that assessment, but she revealed that I was correct. There is still one hurdle left, since she has to read the rest of it, but I’m absolutely confident in that.
It appears that Dancing in Hellfire: The Life of a Transgender Woman From Mississippi will soon have an agent, and that will open a floodgate of possibilities, considering all the other manuscripts I have in waiting, if it sells well. Given the topic and the political climate, I firmly believe it will sell exceptionally well, and possibly New York Times Bestseller well. Hey, dream big, you know?
Having Dancing in Hellfire do well would change my life forever. A million copies would leave me free to be me without pressure for the rest of my life. I don’t know what the royalties would be, but Amazon offers 30%, which means that, using that as a baseline, 12,000 copies is all that I need to sell in order to get to Vegas. However, there’s also the selling fee and stuff I’ll get, but none of that is important.
The point is that the bar is low, and I have every reason to believe Dancing in Hellfire will raise way above that bar.
Thank you to everyone for your support, encouragement, advice, and criticism.