Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

Since 9/11 there has been much talk about the war on terror and on whether we are winning or losing. I submit that we are losing the war on terror.

How can I say we are losing after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? How can I say that when we have had no more terrorists attacks here at home? I believe that the war on terror cannot be gauged based on those criteria alone. The goal of terrorists is not to win militarily because usually they are a lesser force, no the goal of terrorist is to get us to change how we live. How we view ourselves and each other. The reason I say we are losing this war is not based on what the terrorist are doing, but based on what we have done in response to the terrorist threat. We now have more repressive legislation at home, we have resorted to torture and imprisonment without due process, and we use fear and paranoia to justify any and all activities.

Of course it would be easy to blame an administration that used the attack to enact its agenda and justify its world view. But these things could not have been done without our acquiesce. We live in a democracy that is supposed to have checks and balances. We are four years into a failed foreign policy and we just now want to institute oversight and review. I am far removed from the civics’ class of my youth, but even then we learned that in a democracy the people are the “deciders”, not one man no matter what the justification. Are you smarter than a fifth grader? When in a democracy is having a healthy debate about the path of this country’s foreign policy “aiding and abetting the terrorists”? When in a democracy are all the citizenry guilty until proven innocent. No my friends the terrorist are winning, because America is no longer America. In a democracy there will always be opportunities for terrorist to act, that is the price of having a free society. It is not the acts of the terrorist that defines us; it is our responses to those acts that define us; if we are truly a democracy. We can respond as we have with the politics of fear and divisiveness or we can respond as a true democracy and tell the terrorists of this world that we will not live in fear and attack each other. Of course there have always been those who have used our fears to promote hatred and division. I remember from my civics days a gentleman by the name of McCarthy who made quite a name for himself hyping the fears of others.

The next administration will need to heal this land and reunite us as a nation. This will not be an easy task considering all of the damage that has been done. The first thing will be to roll-back the imperial presidency and return this country to a healthy democracy. The democracy we learned about in the fifth grade; remember the one “of the people, by the people, for the people”. It will require letting the world know that we do not have imperial aspirations on other lands. It will require us to once again take our role in the world community not as a bully, but as a leader by example. We must be a beacon of hope and freedom that the downtrodden of the world can look up to; a respecter of international law and international cooperation, and above all a nation that believes in diplomacy for solving conflict and uses force as a last resort. I believe that John Edwards can and will embody this philosophy more than the others. It is now up to us to choose what type of country we want for our children; what type of democracy we want to give them. Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

No comments:

HTML stat tracker