Thursday, January 19, 2006

What will it take?!?!?

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

"Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - THOMAS PAINE

I keep thinking about these two quotations, especially in the wake of the apparent lawlessness of the current Bush regime. I finally found the exact quotations since I had them paraphrased (somewhat badly) in my head. I look at these quotations and wish that I could reach into the past and bring Franklin and other Founders back to the present and show them what's happening. I'm sure their reactions would not be pretty for the American public seems willing to trade in our republic for a authoritarian regime all in the name of terrorism.

We have people in Atlanta that are all in a twitter over some child painting an American flag on the middle of the street in a cul-de-sac in Duluth, GA. First, it's not a real's a painting of one. But you'd think that people enforcing the anti-graffiti ordinance and having the flag painting removed were the greatest threat since Osama Bin Laden. It's a PICTURE of a flag people! And besides, since when is it respectful or patriotric to put an image of our national flag on the ground for someone drive over? Newsflash! It's NOT. Under the US Flag Code, you must BURN an American flag that touches the ground. Of course, this is a painting, not a real flag.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll showed that 51% of respondents felt that in the fight against terror, it's fine for the government to engage in the warrantless wiretapping of telephone calls and e-mail. In other words, it's fine for the president to break the law, just so long as he's fighting "terror". I do understand that if you're emailing known terrorists in Pakistan, Iraq, or wherever, you should be monitored. I don't think there is a reasonable person in the United States who would disagree with that. What I DO object to is the notion that the President can't be "bothered" with showing what he's doing and why to a judge either before or after the fact. If the FISA process is too complicated or cumbersome, then amend it. Bush rammed through the original Patriot Act with all kinds of interesting intrusions on American privacy, but the Congress went along with it. So far, the Courts haven't knocked those provisions down either.

Our system is working as far as the Patriot Act is concerned. What's more, people know about the law, and have been able to debate it just as Congress did. You cannot tell me that having a law to set up a new system for this War on Terror would not get serious consideration in Congress. Such a law wouldn't even have to get into details, but set up a system of checks and balances so that a President (this one or any future one) won't easily be able to abuse his authority to spy on Americans.

It seems the public, though, largely buys the argument of "Well, if you don't have anything to hide, then you shouldn't object. He's only going after terrorists." Yeah, RIGHT. The current President has created a regime based on deceit. This is a president that misled us into war, and lied openly to us about warrantless spying. Sure, we should just take Bush's word because he's a BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN. Sorry, not good enough. I don't trust this president to not abuse his authority or discretion, as he has done time and again. And I dare any supporter of Bush to say that they feel completely comfortable with the thought of President Hillary Clinton exercising these same exact powers that Bush claims for himself. I know the GOP has aims to fix the election system to perpetuate their power indefinitely, but eventually, a Democrat will retake the White House. If the GOP could come back from Hoover, the Dems will return to power as well.

There must be a reason that Bush doesn't want anyone looking over his shoulder as he orders the NSA to spy on Americans. If his purposes were legitimate, he would have welcomed such oversight that gave him the flexibility he says he needs. But no! He claims that his role as Commander in Chief allows him to ignore the Constitutions protections against tyrrany as long as the endless "War on Terror" continues. Just today, the Washington Post reports that the Bushies are trying to revive a law that has already been declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL by the Supreme Court through a subpoena of Google's searches. They want to show that people look up porn, and somehow that an unconstitutional law can be saved as a result. So not only is Bush promising to ignore laws he doesn't like (like the ban on torture) but also court rulings he doesn't like.

Between Bush's abuse of power and the growing GOP Congressional scandal starring Jack Abramoff, the stench of corruption and authoritarianism is growing more putrid by the day. Our Constitution is seriously under assualt by the current crop of GOPers in power. We have a chance to stop them in November, but I am starting to question whether we will have the guts to do so. If 51% think breaking the law is fine as long as you promise it's to get terrorist, then our system of government and the American way of life is seriously in jeopardy.

What will it take for the public to WAKE UP and understand what is being done to the Constitution we all revere? How far can Bush go before people realize that he desires the power of a dictator or American Emperor? Will it be too late by the time people do finally realize what he's doing? I hope not, but that hope grows dimmer by the day.

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