Political Junkie Sounds Off

In Columns, Features, Pieces to Peter's Puzzling World by Peter Webster

By now, I think most of you know I am a political junkie. You are all warned: this column is political. We-the collective American People-have reached a precarious place.

I grew up believing in certain traditional values: this is a nation where we are free to think and speak freely. We can travel without special permits or clearances; organize into groups as we see fit to do. Where there’s a national concern for those who need help.

I was a child of the New Deal. One of my strongest memories, from when I was a kid, was hearing on the radio or in movies, sinister German accents saying, “So you do
not like the Furher, eh?”

Do you know what I mean? Nazi Germany was a place where people were not free to speak their minds, where allegiance to the leader was required. America, though, was a free country. We didn’t start wars, but we honorably fought and finished them, when we were forced to.

I still maintain that the American values I grew up with were the greatest in the world. I get angry when the country doesn’t live up to them.

Even knowing that there have been many violations of those values, from King Phillip’s War to the Mexican War, the Palmer Raids to the witch-hunts of

America isn’t perfect, never will be (perfection is an ideal, not a reality), but we can keep making it better.

Remember, “Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty?”

Liberty is under attack. From within. The government now has the power to arrest people, to search people’s homes, with secret warrants.

The president wants to be able to strip people of their American citizenship and deport them-even people who have been born here-if they are deemed, by secret courts, to be terrorists.

Or sympathizers of terrorists. Who decides
that? Not juries of our peers. Our homes can be searched, our library records combed through for evidence of subversive activities without us even knowing about it.

In fact, it would be criminal to tell us if this happened. Dissent is now defined as un-American and supporting our enemies.

I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would say. The airlines maintain “No Fly Lists;” but nobody mentions how people are chosen to be on that list-and getting off it is harder than finding hen’s teeth. People have been
stopped and searched for “loitering” near railroad yards and refineries.

Especially if they have skins darker than Anglo-Americans. People mistaking them
for Arabs have killed American Indians and South Asians. This is nuts. And it’s
nuts because our government has encouraged this, even legitimized it to an extent (racial killings are, mostly, not encouraged, fortunately).

We have invaded a sovereign country because our President had resentment against its leader. We were told it was because of national security, but it was about oil, oil, Oil.

The war-hawks have proved to be pimps for

We’re bogged down In Iraq in a replay of Viet Nam: a war where any non-American corpses are declared “suspected enemy dead.” Where the government lied about why we’re fighting, and lied about how important that war is.

Well, America has fought plenty of wars. Some of them, like the wars against the American Indians, against Mexico, Spain, and other countries, have been far less than honorable. We don’t need to do that again.

We don’t need to watch the liberties guaranteed in the Constitution be eroded in
the name of “national security” or “anti-terrorism.” We’ve been there before.

When we were there, the times were not honorable and they accomplished virtually nothing.

I’m telling you I’m not “endorsing” Kerry. I think he’s just another rich member of the American elite, the Overclass, just like the current president. I don’t like his stands on several issues. I don’t like his endorsement of this current war or of our growing empire.

The thing is, for me, he’s not George Bush. It’s more important to get Bush out than
Kerry in.

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