Did you hear? Freedom is on the march.
On Monday we were reminded by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King to put down our weapons. We were charged with renewing our commitment to a non-violent movement towards achieving that dream of peace, love, and equality- not just at home but abroad.
On Thursday we were in the presence of a warning in liberty’s costume, though it may have gone undetected by the majority of citizens. President Bush said, “one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of the world.” Are we to believe that this is a different entity than the “day of fire” he described earlier in his speech, that fire that prompted him to take up arms with Afghanistan and Iraq? Just as ice in the South could melt like ice in the North, does not fire from one source burn like the fire from another? When hearing talk of fire across the earth (whether someone intends for that to be a positive vision or not), is mine the only mind that immediately thinks of Armageddon?
Given this rhetoric, it should be of no surprise, then, that Mr. Bush’s comment to young Americans was an order of a Commander in Chief to “make the choice to serve…” No longer is his cry “the axis of evil.” No. This cancerous notion has developed into six “outposts of tyranny,” including Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Zimbabwe (according to Condolezza Rice at her confirmation hearings this week). How long will we let this cancerous vision of ignorant and arrogant “foreign policy” continue to grow? Will we wait until it’s too big to excise from our body of law? Will we try to help ourselves as early as possible by seeking experts and healers, or will we idly yet anxiously wait for the experts and healers to come to us?
I am disturbed that the leader of our nation does not have an accurate understanding of the history of our nation. The president remarked, “From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value…” Yet, I seem to recall something like women and minorities having to struggle for decades – no, for centuries - for recognition of their rights, their dignity (indeed, some are still struggling). Does the president forget the path on which our nation has traveled so long and hard? I would dismiss any claim that merely because a government has been overthrown, “tens of millions have achieved their freedom.” Living without tyrannical rule is not synonymous with achieving freedom. Living in the daily fear of bombs from “liberators” and “martyrs” alike, is not freedom.
It is to my sadness that Mr. Bush often does not practice what he preaches, specifically that “America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.” How can someone who speaks these words dance around affording “jailed dissidents” in Guantanomo Bay or Abu Graib their rights as human beings, so meticulously drafted and adopted by our nation? How can someone speak those words while simultaneously striving to place women legally at the mercy of men who impregnate them by rape, by choice, or by chance?
It seems odd that a president who so adamantly works to oppose legislation supported by the American Civil Liberties Union would be the same president that pronounces, “there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.” And, while we are informed daily by his actions and words that homosexuals are a different class of citizens than heterosexuals and that those who follow no faith, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or other religions are a different class of citizens than Christians, he has the nerve to speak of the importance of “tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our lives.”
Mr. Bush was right about something. We are, as Mr. Bush stated, “ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.” Let us make sure we demand that President Bush be an agent for freedom and not a mere war hawk in Liberty’s costume.