Ghost Busters

It’s easy to feel dispirited by the news. But yesterday’s news of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation “techniques” following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, has me feeling somewhat positive– that is, between bouts of nausea.

The reports of torture are of course not entirely new, but they remain nauseating and shameful. In the 13 years since 9/11, these ghosts have been haunting us. Our own torturers have been lurking among us, but yesterday those ghosts got busted!

Even when we’ve been saddened and furious by seemingly misguided legal decisions–most recently in Ferguson and Staten Island, and before that in Sanford, Florida, as well as other similar cases– those calling for peace, non-violence, racial equality, accountability, dignity, life….you know….what we think of as fundamental to decent society… have essentially been ghost busting!

A country that formally stands for civil rights has seen too many incidents recently that seem to contradict that stance, and too often the negative spirit of racism hovers. The contradiction is unsettling.

If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!

If it’s somethin’ weird an it won’t look good, who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!

Many will say that racism isn’t strange. Nor is police brutality. Nor the extreme version, as seen in the reports of CIA torture. Abuse is all too common, and until busted open, often legal.  (The same is true for sexism and sexual abuse.) But we know that the strangeness inherent in abusive behavior isn’t that it is rare; it is that such behavior is vile, and makes most of us extremely uncomfortable (as it should). The ghosts of racism and sexism and abuse of power still haunt us, but the current manifestations of these ghosts are getting busted.

I ain’t afraid a no ghost. I ain’t afraid a no ghost.

While some fear the possibility of inciting terrorists by revealing the Senate report on torture, ultimately it is better that we bust those ghosts of ours. Until we confront our own sanctioned behaviors and assumptions, conscious and unconscious, legal and moral, we will be haunted by ghosts.

I’ve never subscribed to what is often classified as “paranormal”. But if para-normal is actually beyond normal, then we can certainly move beyond the normal indignities that have accrued and caused distortions and fear and exaggerated reactions.

Each generation has its ghost busters. We must encourage this one and the next one. Hey–I hear there’s a new “Ghostbusters” movie in the making. Maybe ghost busting is in the air?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s