Liberty and Justice need you!
Part two of three
We all have issues near and dear to our hearts. Even those whose beliefs pretty much run the progressive gamut (like myself) tend to worry about certain topics more than others. For me, there is nothing more important than protecting the basic rights that form the core of the American dream.
My basic premise is this — without the right to free speech, press, assembly and petition, how can you fight for other issues? If you are penned up in a “First Amendment zone” or arrested for wearing the wrong campaign button, how can you lobby for environmental protection or reproductive rights? When the government detains you for months without access to a lawyer, the press, or even your loved ones, how can you fight for campaign reform or equal protection for minorities? If the president’s agents can force the press to report only on what they want reported in they way they want it reported, how can anyone outside our small rebel alliance know what is really happening around them?
When Attorney General Ashcroft kidnapped Lady Justice because she had a bare breast, it became a perfect metaphor for this administration. Offended that a few impish photographers caught two boobs in the same shot, he spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to hide her behind a curtain. To the best of my knowledge, there she remains, waiting for us to save her.
And you can feel her absence in our country today. Pacifist organizations are infiltrated by law enforcement, as if people who believe violence is never justified are going to somehow start bombing buildings or spraying crowds with the assault weapons they want to ban. American citizens are held for years without being charged with a crime, as clear a violation of the Constitution as can be imagined. The long shadow of Jim Crow has returned in so-called “investigations” into the work of activists who just happen to be black. The list goes on and on, and more information can be found on a wide variety of sites.
Lady Liberty may not be as obviously distressed, but the crisis involving our most precious freedoms is just as real as her sister’s. Forget protesting — just being around the protestors is enough to end up illegally detained, in some cases for over two days. In the Brave New America, writing stories — works of fiction — could get you jailed for ten years if convicted. (Thankfully, this particular abomination has been overturned.) And as everyone reading this column surely knows, our Dear Leader is so afraid of people challenging him at his Potemkin rallies that he has them arrested when possible. Of course, this is the same president who claimed that all actions under the Patriot Act require court orders. I’ll turn this one over to the ACLU:
"President Bush misled the American public in tonight’s presidential debate when he said that under the Patriot Act — every action requires a court order," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. "In fact, just two weeks ago, a federal judge ruled portions of the Patriot Act unconstitutional because they don’t require a court order."
Kerry’s record on this subject is admittedly not perfect. He supports keeping portions of the Patriot Act and the Democratic convention also had a “free speech” pen. Nevertheless, this is a topic where the Tweedle-dee vs. Tweedle-dum argument simply collapses. There is just no comparison between a man who has spent his entire life defending liberty and justice for all and a man who thinks that “there ought to be limits to freedom” and “it’d be a heck of a lot easier” if he were a dictator.
The many other issues facing us today are all vitally important. I believe that Senator Kerry will be light-years ahead of Bush on diplomacy, the economy, education, the environment, equality, health care, science, security, and more — on pretty much every important challenge facing our country and the world today, in fact. Nevertheless, as previously mentioned, we cannot fight any of these battles without our most basic, fundamental freedoms. Make no mistake, the “fundamentalists” backing Bush have entirely different fundamentals on their minds, and neither liberty nor justice are on their agenda. John Kerry respects our basic human rights. George W. Bush does not. It’s really that simple.
(/) Roland X
Nov. 2 Special: Vote John Kerry, get your country…FREE!
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