Those worrying about the erosion of liberty in this time of crisis often quote Benjamin Franklin, who said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." The problem with this advice is that it is well over two centuries old, and no one back then could have imagined the dangers we face today. We are at war and should be expected to sacrifice some liberty for safety.
According to a national poll taken recently by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, seven out of 10 Americans said that they would give up at least some of their civil liberties to improve security. That shouldn't be at all surprising considering the magnitude of the terrorist threat to our nation as well as the rest of the free world.
The same poll showed that about 90 percent of Americans favor having more police assigned to patrol public areas. 70 percent believe that there should be a law requiring adults to carry a national ID card with their photograph and Social Security number, and roughly half support the idea of random police searches in public places.
It is clear that most of America is behind the president in his effort to eradicate terrorism. The few individuals who are not seem to be those who are clinging too tightly to their precious Constitution. They refuse to give up even the smallest right, when doing so might mean the difference between victory and defeat.
These people, whether they realize it or not, are the terrorists' strongest allies in this war. Any attempt to detract from the plans of our president and his administration is tantamount to treason. If they can't learn the concept of "go along to get along," they need to be silenced. This war needs to be won--no matter what the cost.
When terrorists attacked our shores on Sept. 11, the fear-mongers immediately launched into their tirades against U.S. foreign policy, particularly our support for Israel. They talked about how the actions of our "empire" fueled the hatred of Islamic fundamentalists and how we should adopt a more isolationist position on global matters. All this, of course, is nonsense.
While the United States may have been able to avoid foreign entanglements at one time, we must realize that this is the 21st Century. This is not the world our forefathers knew. The Constitution may have been good enough for a fledgling nation 200 years ago, but we must evolve beyond such a narrow worldview if we hope to remain a global superpower.
Ronald Reagan once called us to be a "city on a hill," a place upon which all eyes of the world would be cast. If we allow a dusty old document like the Constitution to prevent us from doing what is necessary, we shall lose the respect of those who look to our nation as an example of greatness. No, we must maintain our lofty position in the world, and if that means behaving like an empire, so be it. The only alternative would be to succumb to terrorism, and that cannot be an option.
We need to be more positive. We need to be more supportive of our government, especially now. The president should not be criticized for doing his duty as Commander in Chief. Yet, through it all, there are those who not only see the glass of liberty as half-empty, they see it as the wrong beverage. This unpatriotic attitude was evident when President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law.
I feel I should point out that when President Bush signed the Patriot Act, he was doing what nearly half of all registered voters who actually bothered to vote elected him to do--lead. The people of this nation wanted a leader with an iron resolve and this president has shown that he is the man for the job. Rather than get behind the spirit of the Patriot Act, some disgruntled people would rather focus on the ambiguous aspects of the legislation and live in fear of the worst-case scenario.
As the poll above shows, this administration is merely doing the will of the people. Doing anything else would not bode well for the GOP this November. It would also hurt the president's chances of getting re-elected in 2004, and ensuring his re-election is absolutely vital to winning this war on terror. No other politician has shown such dedication and strength of character. Honestly, I shudder to imagine where this country would be without President Bush at the helm.
To those who insist on holding firm to the Constitution and making the government's job harder than it has to be, let me remind you that WE ARE AT WAR. Get behind the president and show your support. All of your worries are unfounded. If history is any indication, every civil liberty you give up now will be promptly restored once this war is over. That's a promise.
* Just in case you were wondering, yes, this is a satirical piece.