Thursday, April 08, 2004

I'm Scared

April 8, 2004

I realize that I've been doing little more than ranting and raving about the evils of the Republicans for a couple of months now, and I think I've got a lot of people convinced I'm ultra-leftist, criticizing the agenda of the current administration just to rip on the religious right. I want to explicitly state, as the end of the school year draws nearer, that I don't agree with half of what the Democrats say either. I'm attacking the Republican party because they are pushing the current trends in American government I so despise; when I see the terrorism/patriotism furor being flamed over and over again by Rumsfeld, in Bush's speeches, at the 9-11 Commission hearings, news articles with titles like "Does the U.S. Need a Domestic Spy Agency?", censorship laws with loophole-generator words like "indecent" slamming down, legalized warrantless searches (now a policeman can search you, your car, your house, whatever, if "he feels threatened;" fourth amendment, anyone?), I'm watching the checks and balances built into American law be erased.

Some of these are the kinds of measures one would expect to see in the film The Siege, but that movie is about repeated terrorist attacks from an operating cell in New York City; why are we continuing to legislate these kinds of reactions years after the last (the only!) attack? Has the government announced any defeated terrorist campaigns since 9-11? It reminds me of a joke I heard as a child. Boy: "Why are you clapping?" Girl: "To keep the terrorists away." Boy: "There aren't any terrorists, silly!" Girl: "See? It works!"

My opinions grow from the basic constitutional ideas of freedom for all to do what they want with their lives, equality before the law and protection from what John Stuart Mill called the "tyranny of the majority." The freedoms of speech that we enjoy are based on the idea that ideas themselves have value, that every perspective has something to contribute to the sum total of human knowledge, and all people from all walks of life have something to say about the world we live in. The constitutional freedoms we have exist to protect experiments in living, attempts to find new ways to be happy and grow as a person in the modern world. The idea of America is freedom to live as unconstrained by government as possible while maintaining a healthy society, and the fearful fervor of the modern populace is being played by authoritarian agenda-pushers.

Our government will not be given back to the apathetic. Vote in 2004, whatever you think about the issues. Reach me at


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