Thursday, November 16, 2006

I would just like to say well done to the United States. Considering that we are one of the more "advanced" or "developed" countries in the world, I think it's pretty embarassing that we now rank behind South Africa (former home of the apartheid) and and about even with, though I would say a bit behind, China (current world leader in annual executions with a whopping 1,770 state-sponsored murders in 2005) concerning civil liberties.

At the end of October, China revamped its death penalty laws, subjecting all lower-court death penalty rulings to review and ratification by the Supreme Court. While the United States has an appeals process that can take death penalty cases to the Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court certainly does not ratify all death penalty cases as this legislation would require the Chinese Supreme Court to do. And, judging by the sheer number of death penalty cases in China, I imagine this will either cause a massive bureaucratic back-log (and, hopefully the high court won't ratify each and every murder) or, a reduction in the number of people initially sentenced to death - thereby, saving lives.

This week, South Africa became the sixth nation in the world to ratify same-sex unions. And while South Africa is probably one of the more progressive nations in Africa, and, obviously, a bastion of the civil rights movement, lets not forget that this is the country that maintained the absolute most violent apartheid recent memory; an apartheid that the U.S. now prides itself on helping - through diplomatic pressure, boycotts etc - to end. South Africa has now surpassed the U.S. in promoting equal rights for everyone.

I've never been more proud to be an American.

(Just in case it doesn't come across over the internets, that last comment just spewed pure sarcasm all over your new shoes).


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