Disgust

I first took an interest in politics over a small, simple little thing. Just a comment overheard by our current president that the more I thought about it, the more the idea started to make me sick. The fact that he would go to congress to make it a constitutional federal law to strip a minority of law abiding American Citizens of rights that millions of the majority in this country are welcome to without judgement started off as silly, and then drove me to a measure of deepest disgust.

And that was the simple beginning. As I peeled the onion, my feelings grew no more amicable towards the current administration, but I suppose one could say that I’ve been desensitized. Focusing on campaigns and polls has allowed me the benefit of not getting worked up over whether my brother will someday be allowed to get married. Contemplating demographics and candidate prospects has helped me muddle through the obvious failures of our system, the system WE (and I include myself in this, as should you) are supposed to be stewards of such as the inexcusable response to hurricane Katrina.

And after a year that has been absolutely horrible to an administration that I abhor, that stands for nearly everything I think is wrong, I should find some joy in that, but I find I’ve just been filled with an even greater measure of disgust.

I want to thank a buddy of mine over at PSOTD for helping me to remember that sometimes, disgust is necessary.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, you’re not paying attention. I’m talking about the recent revelation that our government has been performing warrantless wiretaps on Americans since the September 11th terrorist attacks. I’m talking about an executive branch that has chosen to actively make itself king by acting outside of the public interest. I’m talking about one of the most disgusting things I’ve seen since first studying and writing about politics.

But first, let’s get a few things out of the way. For the “what about Bill?” crowd. I’m so sick and tired of everyone whose only defense is, well Bill Clinton did this. So Fucking What? If you want to prove that Bill Clinton also participated in secret wire taps on American citizens, then fine, he’s just as guilty, and just as much of an asshole for being so. If you’re going to bring something different up, then just leave.

If you’re sitting there and saying, “well, it does save lives.” Let me tell you something. I’m in the military. I’ve never been on the front lines, but for the past ten years I’ve been doing my part in helping to protect this country which I do love so much. And after ten years, I can tell you something, it’s not just about saving lives. It’s about protecting an ideal. It’s about raising your hand and vowing that you will lay down your life not just for other Americans, but for America itself. I promised to serve my country not just so that people could live in this country, but so that they can live with a word the president is very fond of saying, though I grow increasingly more doubtful that he actually knows the meaning of; freedom.

With all the rhetoric flying around about the Iraq war, it is not uncommon to hear people talk about the cost of freedom, the price of freedom, but what does that mean? Living a life with the rights we are supposed to have means living a life with inherent risks, and if you truly love your freedom, and this is the kind of internal understanding I think most military members come to, it is better to die a free death, than to live a life unfree. Put more simply, I did not take an oath to protect my country just to see the most basic principles of liberty dismantled one by one, and yet that is exactly what we have been seeing in recent times.

And for those of you who might think, “well, it’s okay if it’s just the bad guys,” I ask you, who are the bad guys? I warn you that you may agree with who the bad guys are now, but what happens when people you agree with become the bad guys? What happens when the bad guys turn out to be nothing more than fellow Americans who also love their country?

Yesterday, Fester did a wonderful job doing a daily news wrap up (something I wouldn’t expect out of me if I were you, I’m just not well inclined to the task), and in that wrap up, there was a story that if you didn’t read it yesterday, you need to read it today.

Now I’m no lover of PETA. I disagree with them on most points with the small exception that I do feel that animals do need to be treated ethically. But for the most part I think of them as extremists who are a prime example of why I’m also not a fan of most guises of modern activism. I may personally wish that they wouldn’t go to KFC and hand out “Buckets-o’-Blood” to little kids because it’s a little disturbing, and it doesn’t even help their cause. But, at the same time, they are Americans exercizing their right to free speech, and while I neither condone nor agree with either their message in toto, nor their methods of spreading that message, I honor their right to do as they do, and will never stand in their way so long as they uphold the law. That is what it means to be an American. And yet we’re essentially spying on them because they are… activists?

How long will it be before there are secretive wire taps placed on Peta members, or Arab anti discrimination groups, or Peace activists, or you?

This is where idealism meets realism people. This is little different then torturing POW’s , or vigilante justice on someone aquitted by the court system, or a dirty cop who beats a confession out of a suspect, or hell, even someone who cheats on their spouse. These are systems established on a basis of integrity, and the only way they will work is if that integrity is maintained. The moment the system is not honored is the moment that the system becomes useless, and so when I read about the President saying wire taps will continue, all I see is how his disdain for the system has allowed the system to fail.

And that’s what pisses me off the most. There is no shame. There is no remorse. There is instead a reckless drive to not only violate our rights, but to tell us to sit down, shut up, it’s for our own good. It is the audacity of a leader who no longer fears the unrest of those he leads, and that should frighten every single one of you. Because that’s the keystone in a democracy like ours. Those who govern should do so with the fear of those governed, when that is lost, the system takes another shameful step away from the democracy it so desperately wanted to be.

Bush has proclaimed that he doesn’t read polls, that he won’t listen to interest groups, that he is a man of principle that stands by his beliefs. Mr. President, we are your principles and your beliefs. If we are not, you do not deserve to be President. Perhaps it is time that you listen to all of your citizenship, as opposed to spying on them. Until then, I remain disgusted with what you are doing to my country.

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