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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Heroes and Cowards

The true heroes in this country are most definitely not the pundits, politicians and members of the chattering classes. Newt Gingrich, mirroring many others on the right, seems to feel that liberty is a frill and free speech an unnecessary option. According to the Manchester Union Leader
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.
It's worth noting Gingrich talked about dismantling the First Amendment at a dinner celebrating free speech.

Dick Cheney and Ari Fliescher, among others, have made similar public pronouncements. And General Tommy Franks, in 2003, suggested our constitution might need to be scrapped if another attack occurred on American soil.

Why is it that these brave, brave men, most of whom have never served in the Armed Forces, are willing to send the sons and daughters of America (but not their own) into battle, but run scared at the least hint of danger to themselves?

They seem quite willing to sacrifice the freedoms that our forebears fought and died for. They worry only about their own security. Benjamin Franklin said
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.
Enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our nation, is this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Nowhere is security mentioned. Captain Nathan Hale, the great American patriot, said
I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country
before he was hanged as a traitor by the British. And Patrick Henry, speaking to the House of Burgesses of Virginia, said
I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Our forebears were willing to sacrifice everything - their lives, their reputations, their fortunes - for the cause of liberty. Today's "leaders" seem willing to sacrifice all of our hard-won liberties for a chance at a bit of ephemeral security.

Is our nation and its democracy at more risk now than it was in WWII? During the Cold War? During the Civil War? And yet never were our freedoms threatened then as they are now.

On one website, Hotsoup, there was much discussion about this.
A veteran who goes by the username “independentvoter” said fear should not immobilize the nation or lead to the elimination of freedoms “that millions have died for. As for me, I am a Marine (72-76; once a Marine, always a Marine). I wasn’t afraid to die for my freedoms back then and I sure as hell am not afraid to die for them today.”
He's a real American hero.

More here.


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