I have a big problem with our nation’s politics at the moment. We have leaders who are using language like “Islamic fundamentalism” and “Islamic Fascism” on one hand, but on the other, are imprisoning people for long periods of time without giving them the basic right of habeus corpus. They are imprisoned in overseas prisons, where the Government is stripping them of any avenue of legal appeal to their detention. The whole concept of holding prisoners in Guantanomo Bay to circumvent possible legal complications, and taking advantage of the murkiness of current international law is corrupt and dishonest at best, and dispicable at worst. Our government has broken just about every possible standard of human rights, and made us the moral laughing stock of the world. We have become hypocrits in the extreme, and as a result, I firmly believe we are being made less safe, as Americans, when we travel abroad, as well as at home.
In the name of terrorism and fear, our government is perpetrating crimes that are unimaginable previously, except in novels and despotic regimes elsewhere in the world. And in the name of fear and terrorism, we are letting it occur.
FDR said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” This is perhaps one of the wisest statements ever. Fear initiates a visceral, reflexive, instant response, rather than a thought out, logical and measured response. Countries are supposed to be better than third graders with ADHD. They are supposed to be able to control and plan their actions. We are supposed to have plans and strategies, but I am afraid we do not.
If we need more troops in Iraq to secure the peace, then we need to do that, regardless of its attendant risks. If we sit on the fence and refuse to make the hard decisions, – This is the danger of waffling- more people will die, needlessly, because the need to bring security will only get worse- far worse, I fear, before it gets better. Yes, the war is unpopular because it is being run by opinion polls and politics rather than by strategists. People are dying because despite our country’s early resolve to get involved in this ill-conceived quagmire, we have decided not to go “ball to the wall” and do the job properly, but are taking measured steps- and this thing is looking more and mroe like a text book case of mistakes made in Viet Nam.
I respect people when they make hard decisions. We respected Bill Clinton when he raised taxes, in part, because it brought prosperity and a sense of equality to our country. My family is doing well, and as much as I might whine about taxes from time to time, I feel privileged that we are doing well enough to be able to whine about it. I don’t mind paying our share, to help others in need. I think of that as an obligation we have to help everyone, not just a few. I don’t need tax breaks, because there is some hope I will start a business and employ others- that is a misnomer. My husband is employed in a field where he doesn;t really have the opportunity to create new jobs, so this tax break only lines our pockets, it does not help anyone else, directly or indirectly. Tell me we need higher taxes to make our country great and I will pay my share.
But now, the amount we do pay is not only supporting our country, but it is supporting an entire nation overseas. We’re in a mess that will takes YEARS and DECADES to fix, and I am embarrassed and disappointed in our current government. This feeling of disillusionment is far more damaging than simple visceral anger. It erodes our sense of ourselves as Americans- once the brightest shining light of freedom and possibility on the planet, now tarnished into something that smacks of greed and hubris.