Are the TRUE CONSERVATIVES FINALLY Riding to the Rescue of Their Country?
I have been waiting for our good friends from the other side of the aisle to open up about the Patriot Act and the threats to American freedoms that it represents. Now it appears that some are speaking out.
Until recently, Texas Rep. Ron Paul has been about the only GOP member who openly and consistently opposed the Patriot Act. In an article dated July 25, 2003, Rep. Paul states:
Paul has been an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act since its hasty passage in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Act endangers civil liberties by easing federal rules for search warrants, allowing warrantless searches in some instances, allowing expanded wiretaps and internet monitoring, and even allowing federal agents to examine library and bookstore records. Yet despite these serious constitutional questions, few if any members of Congress read the 500-page Patriot Act prior to voting on it!
In an article from July 15, Rep. Ron Paul dares to ask the question, What Happened to Conservatives?
The so-called conservative movement of the last 20 years, starting with the Reagan revolution of the 1980s, followed by the 1994 Gingrich takeover of the House, and culminating in the early 2000s with Republican control of both Congress and the White House, seems a terrible failure today.
Republicans have failed utterly to shrink the size of government; instead
it is bigger and costlier than ever before. Federal spending spirals out of control, new Great Society social welfare programs have been created, and the national debt is rising by more than a half-trillion dollars per year.
Whatever happened to the conservative vision supposedly sweeping the nation?
One thing is certain: those who worked and voted for less government, the very foot soldiers in the conservative revolution, have been deceived. Today, the ideal of limited government has been abandoned by the GOP, and real conservatives find their views no longer matter.
True limited government conservatives have been co-opted by the rise of the neoconservatives in Washington. The neoconservatives- a name they gave themselves- are largely hardworking, talented people who have worked their way into positions of power in Washington. Their views dominate American domestic and foreign policy today, as their ranks include many of the President's closest advisors. They have successfully moved the Republican party away from the Goldwater-era platform of frugal government at home and nonintervention abroad, toward a big-government, world empire mentality more reminiscent of Herbert Hoover or Woodrow Wilson.
In doing so, they have proven that their ideas are neither new nor conservative.
It now appears that the actions of the Bush (mis)Administration have finally registered in the minds of other conservatives, and might just be bringing about a reaction from them.
November 23, 2003 WASHINGTON --
Nevada conservative activist Janine Hansen is the first to say she is no Democrat or liberal, but she also complains the Bush administration has gone too far in eroding privacy and rights with the USA Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism measures.
Hansen, president of the anti-feminist Nevada Eagle Forum, backed up her complaint Thursday [11/13/03] in Reno by being a featured speaker at a three-city announcement launching a campaign against the 2001 statute.
Most criticism of the controversial anti-terrorism law is associated with the ACLU and other liberal groups. But more often than not in the West, it is conservative libertarians like Hansen who take the lead.
Months before the campaign, Hansen said, she persuaded the Nevada Legislature to add language protecting civil liberties to its new anti-terrorism laws.
"I really led the battle on this," she said. "The ACLU supported me, but I was the first one there."
There's a lesson in here, folks! We need to find a way to ally with these people, at least on this issue. We might also find other things we can work together on, for the good of the nation and the people as a whole - like it used to be. (At least it seemed that way to me when I was a kid.)
For a growing number of conservative libertarians, the Patriot Act and the Bush administration's "big government" war on terrorism are becoming wedge issues that threaten to separate them from the Republican Party and President Bush.
Those worried about this include Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, David Keane of the American Conservative Union and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum.
"We all want to continue to fight and win the war against terrorism, but there is absolutely no need to sacrifice civil liberties," said Bob Barr, a former congressman who works with the ACU and ACLU.
No one will deny that there are some surprises here. For me, one of the biggest surprises is Grover Norquist. He was very instrumental in creating the very conservative political dominance that he now opposes, at least on this issue. Has to good professor become afraid of the very monster he helped to create? I hope so!
Let there be no misunderstanding - I welcome the actions of conservatives in opposition to this law, as we all will benefit from its repeal. I would very much like to hear from true conservatives who stop in here on how we can work together, to not only repeal this "law", but how we can restore respect and compromise between us in the American political system. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence:
"We must all hang together, or assuredly [under the Patriot Act] we shall all hang separately".
Copyrighted source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.
FAIR USE NOTICE
This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.