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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Choice In November

In a few months we as a nation are facing an important decision: who will lead us for the next four years. There are many issues associated with that choice, and clearly it is but impossible to address them all.

However, there are many things an election accomplishes. One of them, an important one, is the
evaluation of the job the incumbent administration has done.

The current administration has come to the office with a set of promises, of which many seemed to have remained just that: promises. One could argue, and correctly so, that the world has changed dramatically since the year 2000. However, the world has not seen anything unheard of before.

The massive terror attacks of 9/11 were a really terrifying event, but the world has seen many a battle where more lives were lost. And the world, especially the so-called Third World, experiences such privation on the regular basis that 9/11 simply pales in comparison. And that, I believe, is part of context in which 9/11 ought to be viewed.

However, the Bush administration presented these events as the "end of the world as we know" and did a very thorough job of trying to convince Americans that this should also be the end of America as we know it. The almost immediate reaction of the government was to claim that it did not have sufficient powers to properly address the issue of terrorism, and thus needed a massive extension of its powers. It also claimed that the separation of powers,- which happens to be one of the key elements of our social order as envisioned by the Founding Fathers,- was a major obstacle in the fight against terrorism.

The Defense Department and the White House claimed the right to indefinitely detain those they consider to be a threat. The Patriot Act allowed the executive branch to take numerous types of action unsupervised by the courts. The idea behind that was that the government has our best interest in mind, and we should just let it proceed unimpeded.

However, that is not what this country is about. It was not founded to be about comfort or security,- it was founded to be about liberty and responsibility. And there is a price to pay for that,- and many have paid this price, and many more will. Those who think that is just a piece of empty sloganeering should read this list and see for themselves.

I am not a hard-core Libertarian, nor do I have a formal affiliation with any other party or movement. I simply believe that a piece-meal transformation of our society into something entirely alien to what it was meant to be is not a way to go. And I believe that this is a reason to vote against Bush in November. It may not accomplish much, but it is at least a way to send a message out that attempts to facilitate such a transformation are going to lead to defeat at the polls. And to those who think that's all I can muster,- no, I can think of many other reasons to vote against Bush, but I am not going to address them here.

I believe that in the final run, adhering to the principles set forth in the Constitution will prove
the best course of action in all regards, including security. And we must not sacrifice our long-term vision for some short-term gains, real or perceived.

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