Monday, January 16, 2006

On January 17th we celebrate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth. For those of you who don’t know me that well I’m a big Benjamin Franklin fan. I’m a great admirer of our founding fathers in general. Franklin is a special case however. I love him extra.

Now I could sit here pontificate on why I’m so enamored with Benjamin Franklin. But however as I was sitting around thinking an idea hit me. I really think that Franklin would be unsettled by the current state of affairs.

First and anecdote and a quote if I may. As Benjamin Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Congress one night a citizen asked him if we had a republic. Franklin replied, “If you can keep it”. Franklin is also quoted as saying “The role of the government is to do for the citizens what they can not do for themselves.” The anecdote shows that Franklin knew we had to be a politically active and aware to keep a republic. Apathy will never fuel a democracy. The quote shows that Franklin favored a relatively limited government. After all the smaller the government the harder it is for it to interfere in people’s lives.

Now what does this have to do with anything today you might ask. Well I have one specific issue that’s been bothering me and have yet to write about it. I’m speaking of the wire tapping scandal. This is the most belligerent abuse of presidential powers ever. I would say it certainly is in my lifetime. It is a direct violation of the Constitution of the United States of America. The same document George W. Bush swore to uphold. By wiretapping without a warrant our president has broken the law. If I remember nothing else from high school civics it is that the job of the executive branch to enforce the law. Our president has not done that.

What’s even more unsettling is that 42% of those polled felt that the wiretapping is ok. Good God Almighty! Are we that afraid? Is a full 42% of America so scared of another terrorist attack that we are willing to ignore the Constitution? Actually I know what they are thinking. They’re thinking that this wiretapping is only being done to the bad guys. That this only for our well being. Well it’s not. It’s also been revealed that the feds have been keeping an eye on both the Quakers and the Catholic Workers. If you don’t know about either of these people I urge you to go learn more. I will say this there could not be two more peaceful entities on planet Earth. Of course the feds think the Catholic Workers have Communist leanings.

I can also hear a few of you thinking this, “But we’re at war!” or maybe “We’ve got to stop terrorism at all costs!” To which I would urge you to calm down and think. Just because we’ve invaded a country and are still trying to suppress an insurgent movement doesn’t mean we should throw away our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Also what good does defeating the terrorists do if we end up in a far worse place than we started?

I really think that Benjamin Franklin would be rather appalled at how people are surrendering their freedom’s in the name of a bit of safety. We’ve allowed this government to expand its powers far beyond what our law allows and that is not acceptable. We sit on our hands when we should have our fists in the air demanding justice. We live under a doctrine of fear rather than reason. Our republic is slowly going away because we’re allowing it to happen.

Just in case you’re wondering, Bush should be impeached. He is sworn to uphold the constitution and he failed to do so. So he must go.


Anonymous Dave said...

"Just in case you’re wondering, Bush should be impeached. He is sworn to uphold the constitution and he failed to do so. So he must go."

Thanks to Bill Clinton, we now know that if you're impeached, it means nothing! Business as usual. No need to step down or give up your office!

9:15 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Hi Dave,

Actually Clinton was acquitted by the Senate. But you have pointed my unfortunately ambiguous word choice. What I should say it impeached, convicted and tarred and feathered.

As always I'm here to help.


10:11 PM  

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