Thursday, December 22, 2005

More food, same general flavor

All this talk about wiretaps and Bush overstepping his bounds brought something to my mind that is worth sharing. Let me lead you a little further down the path towards enlightenment…

Who is the father of modern-day liberalism? The immediate answer to that is: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He created the idea of “The Great Society,” which included social security, welfare, and the idea that government should be in the business of providing everything for everyone who can’t get it by themselves. *** FDR was also the first president to do some other things. He was the first President to order wiretaps without warrants from the court. In fact, he was the first president to order wiretaps at all. Back then, they were illegal in all circumstances, and you couldn’t get a warrant that allowed you to use them. But FDR felt they were necessary to protect the country in time of war. Turns out, he was right. Wiretaps were very helpful to break up axis spy rings inside the states. The administration, although it was in un-charted territory and was ginormous compared to its predecessors, was able to effectively monitor itself and ensure that no citizen’s civil rights were violated without a good reason. How much more capable of this would be the modern presidential administration? Especially since it can get the warrants when possible and only use the presidentially approved non-warrant wiretaps at the last resort.
Of course, there is one major exception to the protections of civil rights under FDR. FDR was the first president to do something else – order the incarceration, without trial or what might pass today for substantial proof of wrongdoing, of a huge section of the population. I am referring to, of course, the Japanese Americans who were placed in concentration camps during WWII. These citizens of America were incarcerated with no trials, and they were deprived of the most basic civil rights, while some of them suffered worse fates. This was not just a few families near the coast, caught with ties to people still in Japan. It was everyone who looked a little bit Asian, even families that had lived in America for generations, and had no ties to people still in Japan.
So far, this is something Bush has not done, nor will he ever do. Some might bring up Guantanamo Bay as an example of this, but please, remember that all the inmates there were non-American citizens caught on the battlefield, or in the act of aiding our enemies. And they were treated well, for their situations. I wouldn’t want my kids treated that way, but they weren’t exactly innocents. Some of the inmates who were captured in less than perfect ways were released, and then (80%) found their way back into American custody under more legitimate circumstances in less than a year.
This is just some food for thought to munch on while you listen to calls for Bush’s impeachment over these so-called “illegal” wiretaps.
***Side note: This is opposed to allowing charities to do their work. That’s the conservative alternative to government expansion, and I feel like it often gets lost in the shuffle so conservatives get branded as uncaring. That is not the case; we just disagree about the question of who should be providing these necessary services.

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