Saturday, December 10, 2005

Stifling debate on this war is counter to patriotism

(This letter was published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on December 13, 2005.)

In Wednesday's speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, President Bush cited Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who sides with Mr. Bush in saying that it is too early for Americans to pull out of Iraq ("Bush Sees Rebuilding Successes in Iraq," Dec. 8). Recently, Sen. Lieberman also said, "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he'll be commander in chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

I disagree. The First Amendment enumerates our right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances." If Americans don't challenge a president who is bankrupting our treasury, destroying our moral leadership and jeopardizing our national security, then we fail as patriots.

Joe Lieberman is a member of the "world's greatest deliberative body," yet he is trying to stifle debate instead of becoming part of the solution by joining the majority of Americans in questioning President Bush's foreign policy.

Teddy Roosevelt said in 1918, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Up Or Down Flip-Flop

Two months ago, James Dobson and Senator George Allen, the extremist wing of the Republican Party forced the withdrawal of Harriet Miers’ nomination, well before she was given the “up or down vote” all nominees supposedly deserve.

Now these same people are trying to sell Samuel Alito to America, labeling Democrats “progressive secularists” and turning them into scape-goats by accusing them of waging a war on Christmas. This has been done before, but at that time the scape-goats were Jews. They say that Alito’s record shows he stands for religious freedom. He will put an end to this war they made up and become the the savior of Christmas. We already have a Savior of Christmas. That would be Christ. Alito is not Christ, but as a former corporate lawyer, he would be Santa Claus to the corporations. This imaginary war on Christmas only obfuscates the very real war in Iraq.

Republican Senators supporting the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court are fond of claiming the president’s nominations deserve the respect of an “up or down vote.”

While the fundamentalist preachers setting the agenda for the current incarnation of the Republican Party may love Alito’s propensity to curb the rights of women and minorities, it is clear that reasonable people can strongly disagree with this nominee. As the new year begins and confirmation hearings proceed in the Senate, should Democratic Senators decide to filibuster Judge Alito, I hope we can all remember just how insistent the Republican Party was in demanding an “up or down” vote for Harriet Miers.