As we celebrate Indepence Day, I ask the question, "who are we?" I am well aware of what we were. I have studiously studied history and my mentor J.D. Williams told me to embrace and appreciate the uniqueness that it is to be an "American." Our country was much influenced by enlightenment thinking from the 18th and 19th century. The wisdom of Rousseau, Locke, Hume, Hutchison, Voltaire and Klopstock enabled a colony subservient to monarchy to break free of this constraint and devise a system of government that was accountable to the people, but constrained by the Constitution. Individauls became important, with inalienable rights, not wardens of the state or Dukedom. Certainly, our founders feared rash actions, and wanted to suppress the pashions of public opinion. David Miller in his fine blog has done a wonderful job of analyzing the "federalist papers" and examining what our founders had in mind.
But life today, seems to be dominated by fear. The attacks on 9/11, created an environment where Americans gave unprecedented powers to the executive branch under the guise of protecting us. Many Americans, magnified the Al Qaeda victory over us on 9/11 by discarding the Constitutional provisions that provided for oversight of the Executive Branch. Republicans in lock-step, and Democrats fearing appearing soft on terrorism, surrendered without condition freedoms that many of us took for granted.
Let me put it plainly. Every liberty we surrender in our quest for better security is an appeasement to Al Qaeda. Every freedom we give up tells Al Qaeda, "uncle."
Listen, I am not willing to say uncle to a bunch of uber-religious morons like Al Qaeda. But the adminstration of George W. Bush has done nothing but emboldended the religious fanatics I despise. Bush is incompetent on many levels. But his handling on the war on terror will be used for generations regards a "not what to do" warning.
Admittedly, I supported the surge, and showed a certain confidence in Gen. Petraeus, Sec. of Defense Gates and others. Not because I supported the invasion of Iraq, which I didn't, but because we are actually there, and we now have a responsibility to the Iraqi people to give them a fighting chance to secure a better life. The positions I've taken are not popular with liberals or conservatives, but are based upon my own analysis.
BTW, I hope everyone enjoys the 4th of July and contemplates upon what is the best things that have made our Republic a remarkable experiment.