Shine a light

Today is the 60th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights.  Our human capacity for cruelty and the seductiveness of power leave far too many people enduring lives filled with suffering and hopelessness. Today is a good day to light a candle and offer a prayer or blessing to all who are denied humanity's most basic rights.

Today is also the day the Nobel Peace Prize was to be given to Liu Xiaobo, who couldn't attend because he sits in a Chinese jail, serving an 11 year sentence for "inciting subversion of state power." Liu was the leading author behind "Charter 08," a manifesto calling for the recognition of fundamental human rights in China. His wife could not attend the ceremony either, because she is under house arrest. An empty chair stood in  his place.

Ironically, our Senate, despite the efforts of some, is about the pass a bill estimated to cost $858 billion, much of it paid for by loans from China and Saudi Arabia—countries that openly defy the UN declaration—in order to reward the wealthiest among us. Our trade policies have already made it nearly impossible to buy things not from China, or to purchase oil that's not from the Saudis. Maybe we'd better light a candle for ourselves as well.