Friday, January 13, 2006

Patriot Or Politician

This is a letter I am sending to every member of the House and Senate:

Dear ___________,

When you first decided to run for office were you idealistic? Were you hoping to make the world a better place? I hope that you started out that way.

I worry that in making us 'secure' we are destroying our fundamental values. Terrorism may be more frightening because it's a less identifiable target than Russian nukes or Japanese bombers. But I fear we are not 'seeing the forest for the trees'.

In our current system I’m sure you had to ‘go along to get along’. Perhaps you justified it to yourself that you would at least get a few things done while you were there. I believe that some things have gone terribly wrong in the last few years.

In the aftermath of 9/11, a Patriot Act was passed without anyone really reading it or debating its implications. Extraordinary powers were given to the executive branch. We are learning everyday that even that was not enough. Other regulations such as FISA have also been ignored. The President signs congressional bills such as the Torture Bill, and then he tells us all why he plans to ignore the regulation. All of this done in the name of protecting us Americans from the threat of terrorism.

I am just a plain American citizen. I have always been fascinated by politics and history but am far from any kind of activist. I don’t want to destroy the Constitution and the Bill of Rights so that I can be protected.

Especially when it is a war on a word/idea. The War on Terror may last for generations. When the President has stated that these extraordinary means must be utilized until this war is over—to me that says forever. Because there will always be threats, and always justifications for taking rights away to ‘protect’ us. Hey, as far as I know I think the War on Poverty and War on Drugs are still going on too. I’m sure future leaders will declare wars on other words. Do you see how it will create an impossible and never-ending justification to destroy our rights and liberties?

I am a middle-aged white woman and I am not that soft. None of us should be. We come from a proud heritage of independent thinkers. Of people who left everything familiar to create new lives in a new place. Of people who have fought and died over the centuries to create and keep the privileges that the Constitution and Bill of Rights have given us. If I have to step up to the plate for future generations to have those rights I will gladly do so.

Somewhere along the line, you must have read Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage. In the book, there are great examples of how one person can stand against the odds and make a difference. Please just ask yourself, deep down in your soul—are you a patriot? Do you really truly love your country?

Then please honor your oath to the Constitution. You did not swear to protect and defend and uphold me or any other person. Your promise is to the Constitution, to our system of government and its laws. Please start today to do whatever it takes to get us back on that track.

These are the issues that scare me the most:

FISA, wiretapping, and similar illegalities
Our executive willfully ignored the system in place. Why? It just smells of something very shady. In addition, I do not want to hear any more lawyers talking about unitary executive. We have three branches of government. We do not have a monarchy. No other President has so willfully broken the law. The unitary executive concept should have been opened up to public debate if they wanted to go that route. Not secretly as it has been done.

Patriot Act
It was passed in a time of high emotion. Today, every line, every right ceded or manipulated needs to be re-evaluated and debated. Not among politicians. But as citizens and patriots

War on a basis of lies and/or manipulated information
Bad intelligence or dishonest people? And why the intelligence was so bad if that was the case. There must be accountability for all of this.

Guantamano, Torture, Foreign Prisons, Ignoring Geneva Conventions
I am EMBARRASSED as an American that this behavior continues. Have any of these people actually been tried?

When you look at all this, it seems almost ironically funny that we are claiming to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East when we are ripping it to shreds at home.

But it is not funny. Because this is my country and it hurts to see what we have become. Please be a Patriot, not a Politician. And from this day forward let’s work together to put our country back together the way that it should be.

Thank you.
Pamela Lach

No comments: