Today’s political and media rhetoric would have you believe that President Bush is America’s version of Joseph Stalin. That is unfortunate, because I know the heart of the man we elected as our President. It is clear to me that he does not have insane desires to rule with an iron fist, or to destroy the separation of powers. I have no doubt that he respects and seeks to uphold the Constitution. He does; however, have a central and overriding concern today, and that is to prevent further slaughter of America’s Citizens within the borders of their own homeland.
The United States Senate does not have a good handle on just who the enemy is. Senators Hagel, Murkowski, Sununu, Specter, and Craig are especially perplexing, because they are Republicans. They claim that their actions are proof of a non-partisan devotion to doing what is right, protecting the American People from an out of control Presidency. Senator Sununu resorted to Ben Franklin’s old quip, that… “Those who would give up liberty in exchange for security deserve neither.”
These Senators demonstrate a fundamental inability to grasp the seriousness of the threat facing us today. It is a threat unlike any that America has ever faced before, and the security challenges are of a magnitude many times more complex than any that existed before, even ten or twenty years ago.
Democratic Senator Feingold of Wisconsin said, “He’s President George Bush, not King George Bush.” That brought a lot of clapping and cheering from fellow Democrats. Senator Feingold, along with most of the Senate Democrats, fails to recognize the fact that we are at war, despite their claims to the contrary.
No, it does not look like other wars, and it never will. Our enemies do not wear uniforms, do not drive tanks, and they are not piled up behind some arbitrary “front line” on any map. There was never a foreign power, against which we could declare war. There will never be a formal cease fire and/or surrender as with Japan at the end of World War II.
The President is not King, and I would challenge anyone to demonstrate that he actually thinks he is. In fact, he is the Command in Chief, who in times of war must assert his authority to a degree not otherwise called for. It is his primary and chief responsibility, to see that the Citizens of the United States and the interests of the United States are protected from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The Democrats and a handful of Republicans have demonstrated a pitiful failure to recognize just who the enemy is. They are so short sighted; they feel obligated to take offense when the President rightly and necessarily asks for and in some cases demands the authority to carry out his duties. Rather than accede to the realities of this wartime situation, these people choose to do battle with their own President.
They could lock arms with the Commander in Chief, to take an unbeatable, united stand against our enemies. Instead these people sit back and take damaging potshots at the President, all under an insane fear that a President might assume too much power. They fret over non-existent issues, such as an absolute right to read books or perform research in libraries with unbreakable anonymity. They worry about warrants from Judges, failing to understand that this battle is never going to be won in the civil judicial system.
Let me say this as plainly as I can. I fear the enemies of America, who fully understand how to exploit the very freedoms and liberties we enjoy. I understand that at times, the government under the direction of the President, might need to infringe on my privacy and may need to inhibit some of the conveniences I have grown accustomed to. I understand that my right to read books without fear that someone will know what I am reading, pales in comparison to the right of my children to be protected from death or life changing injury at the hands of some lunatic terrorist sympathizers.
At an appropriate time, extraordinary intrusion can and will be scaled back. There is no reason to fear that a President can or will go berserk with power, precisely for the reason that he is not King, and can never be. There is nothing that a President can do that will prevent his ouster by vote or by impeachment. Extraordinary and temporary intrusions on privacy do nothing to change the ordinary and regular transfer of power provided in our Constitution.
Ben Franklin was a wise and colorful character in American history. However, Ben Franklin could not have imagined the organized, global, terrorist threat that his new country would face one day. He had no comprehension of lunatic Islamic fanatics, who can and do communicate with each other on opposite sides of the planet at the speed of light. As wise and fore thinking as he was, I am certain that his advice would be considerably changed, were he living in our modern world. After all, even a 10 year old boy knows better today, than to fly a kit during a lightning storm.
Copyright ©2005, Phil Harris – All Rights Reserved