is best bet for liberty
Ezra Hood is a junior music
composition major from Fort Worth.
in America (and probably everywhere else, come to think of it) are
drowned in a mad rush for the most aggravating sound-byte and astonishing
campaign gimmick. Does it really surprise us when Candidate Kerry
drops the f-bomb? Are we surprised by Wesley Clarks latest antics
in trying to top Howard Dean?
Because we are inundated with the networks excessive coverage
of these loud, shallow events, it seems wise to step out of the day-to-day
mud of a presidential race and check the immediate issues
against a firmer measure. I suggest that one such bedrock principle
is the preservation of our liberties, and further note that this idea
seems far away from the inane details that crowd the political stage
I use the word liberty carefully it isnt common to hear
angry protesters demand liberty anymore (perhaps it once
was, but sadly, weve come a long way from those days). Rather,
we are assailed daily by some shout or another for freedom:
freedom to abort babies, freedom to contribute to campaigns, freedom
to strut nude on television.
Is there a difference between freedom and liberty? Yes, but it is
subtle. I think that a persons freedom to act is nearly impossible
to constrict, except by physical constraint. One might say that I
am free to be as disruptive and violent as I like I can shoot
people and rage against my surroundings anytime, unless I am locked
up. But who would suggest that I have liberty to act this way? My
liberties come with responsibilities to behave civilly and respect
the liberties of other people; I am free to ignore them, but that
freedom would (and should) then be curtailed.
It seems to me that our liberties are in danger, and that much of
the political debate today ignores this unsettling situation. It is
our liberty that offends the belligerent Islamic radicals, and these
evil men seek every means to restrict them. Until Sept. 11, 2001,
this movement seemed distant and ineffective, but the irrational rage
that motivates the extremists has not calmed. Any political calculation
that ignores this threat is delusional and dangerous.
What do we hear about liberty from the leading Democrats seeking their
partys nomination? Very little. In New Hampshire, Wesley Clark
pronounces every day that President Bush is an unpatriotic boob who
wages an unpatriotic war in place of entrusting our freedoms to the
United Nations, while promising that no Sept. 11 attacks would be
allowed in his proposed administration. Howard Dean can
hardly top this rhetoric, but yells for voters to sit down and let
him try. Dick Gephardt bored his audiences so badly that we never
knew what he stood for. Where can one find a spirited defense of our
liberty? Who has plans and guts enough to confront the radical Islamist
threat to Western freedoms?
For my money (and I wish he would spend less of it on bloated social
experiments) I see no viable candidate except President Bush who is
willing to see the evil that confronts us for what it is, and fight
against it. If he stays the course and doesnt water down our
war against terrorists, George Bush will have my vote in November.