Monday, October 02, 2006
superpower forever ?
What is the responsibility of a good citizen ? In my opinion it is to demand truth. Truth is not political. Truth is not represented by a single politician or party. Truth has its good sides and ugly sides. Truth is not a one size fits all. It can't be conveniently downsized to soundbites on the news to our satisfaction; it is what we don't want to hear sometimes but what we need to hear to make intelligent decisions. I consider myself a proud Texan, a proud American. Sometimes our President does things that make me smile and then sometimes I want to scream but one thing is for sure he is our country's president which means that I should respect the executive institution he represents but I should not feel that I can't honestly express my opinion about important political events affecting our country. No doubt he has the hardest job in this country and while the US remains a superpower the world. So why am I so concerned ? I can't believe that our country is sponsoring torture to political prisoners that violate the Geneva convention. I am in utter disbelief that we are attempting to legalize attempted drowning and hypothermia as acceptable means for extracting information. I hate terrorists just as much as any decent human being does but I don't think that in our fight against them we need to turn into them. Torture is not what civilized countries do. What about Americans who are captured ? If we don't follow United Nations conventions why should we expect anyone else to ? I just think this is wrong. We are a leader of the world, we should not relegate down to Nazi tactics. What's the difference between torture and medical experimentation ? Where do you draw the line ? It is a slippery slope of no return best represented by the societies we are attempting to change. It's no different from raising kids you can't say "Do what I say not what I do." I am also sick of our President claiming our former President Bill Clinton is responsible for 911. The facts show that Clinton tried to get Bin Laden and failed. President Bush was handed a comprehensive plan for dealing with Al Quaeda and publicly denies it although those documents exist and were aired on MSNBC Keith Oberman. President Bush was the one who was too busy to take Al Quaeda as seriously as it should have been. For 8 months he did not even try to get Bin Laden until 911 occurred. Why lie to the public ? I understand that even the best of leaders make mistakes. We are all human but to lie to the American public on a presumption that carefully orchestrated sound bites turn fiction into truth is not acceptable. President Bush can be charming in real life and his dedication to family is admirable but his dedication to preparedness (he is too frequently on vacation), academic study (as yes his job still requires) but his weekly briefings compared to Clinton's pales in comparison, and truth telling (weapons of mass destruction, state of affairs in Iraq concerning the war, ...) leave in my estimation a below passing grade. I admire his willingness to take the job of chief executive, I of course support our leaders but have a right to reject their lies. President Bush has true empathy for the victims of 911 and has shown great compassion for the people of our country that suffered that horrific event but unfortunately this compassion was not present when necessary during Hurricane Katrina. It was painful for me to watch CNN night after night from Monday when the hurricane hit till Friday when finally our firm could not take it anymore and sent two of our employees to New Orleans with food, water, batteries and other necessities. It is so sad that ordinary Americans were more of a source to depend on than our leaders and government. Hurricane Katrina is the largest natural disaster our country has faced since the great San Fransisco earthquake ? It was not only hell for the people who directly suffered that hurricane but for the rest of the nation who watched in horror as our country failed to do what it needed to do. Now do my views mean I don't support the men and women who are in Iraq fighting ? No, to not support our troops would be less than human. They don't have a choice of being there and they need to know that their efforts mean something. It is good that we are attempting to help people in the middle east and our fallen soldiers lives are not in vain. The last thing our country needs to do is create another generation of psychologically devasted Vietnam veterans who feel rejected by their own country. They need to know we care and appreciate all their efforts and sacrifices but that does not mean we need to agree with the reasons for the war or President. That is what makes our country what it is... intelligent people need to demand honesty and responsibility of our government but that does not mean the process is pretty. Even in the formation of our country the greatest minds such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton often vehemently disagreed however we needed them both to be the counrty we are today. We needed Madison's passion for a constitution that could bind all the states together and we needed Hamilton's fiscal genius in monetarily tying our country together and creating a national fiscal system where the federal government assumed states' debts. Republicans and Democrats alike need to demand human decency in how we treat human beings and honesty when spending billions of dollars on wars. It is time that our adminstration quit linking the Iraq war with 911 because the facts are just not there. Somehow making Sadam Hussein liable for the atrocities of Bin Laden because Vice President Dick Cheney wants there to be a link to justify an invasion that from the onset of President Bush's presidency he targeted as a probable or desired hotspot with which to quash or change leadership doesn't make it so and for the Vice President's office to be involved in the outing of a CIA agent risking her life and her family's as payback for her husband's outspoken truth on the lack of weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable. My own personal thoughts are very much like the elder Joe P. Kennedy's who during World War 11 believed the US should only get involved if directly attacked (which is what our country eventually did after Pearl Harbor but his honesty ruined his political career). I believe it is good to help others and other countries when they ask and it makes sense but truth is most of the middle east and Iraq itself does not wish us there. Just because we love our democratic system doesn't mean others want it shoved down their throat. I dont' see the harm in letting the middle east figure out their own issues and problems.....until it involves us. Bin Laden ? That's another story.... that man deserves to be brought to justice as he is responsible and claims responsibility for 911. He deserves the strictest form of punishment available under the law. But no matter anyone's opinion.. I am not here to criticize merely but exercise my desire for intelligent and ethical leadership. History repeats itself but does not have to. We should learn from others.. whether that's President Bush from President Clinton or Bill O'Reilly from Keith Oberman. Everyone has something to offer on the table... let's just read, listen, and think rationally. Being a good citizen means questioning what we know does not feel right or sound right. Our country's continued superpower status and leadership in the world depends on intelligence and doing what is right.... the rest of the world currently has had enough (even Tony Blair had to step down). We can't continue to live in a bubble as we currently are and out of my responsibililty of what I value as citizenship to a great country I now speak with all due respect to Republicans and Democrats alike as well as their respective leadership. The greatest litmus test is to put ourself in others' shoes...our country is losing ground and credibility with the rest of the world because we are not doing just that. We may not always agree but we need to start listening. Midterm elections are around the corner. I just hope everyone votes what they their inner compass tells them. Somehow when (all religions aside) we listen to that inner compass it seems like the right things happen more often than nought. Mimi