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Politics and National Security

Based on recent news, I've written this letter to my senator. What do you think?
Where would you focus our efforts as a nation?

* * *
Dear Senator,

I just got an email about a resolution to assign a "Truth commission" to investigate illegal conduct on the part of former President Bush.

While such a commission might be a warning to future presidents, it's a little like shutting the barn door while the horse is being savaged by the bull.

We need to un-do the unconstitutional measures that were enacted under Bush, and keep our focus on our nations's needs, not political scores.

"Homeland Security" is causing undue restrictions on many of America's small businesses, not to mention ordinary citizens. I've seen local high-tech businesses fail due to unexpected restrictions on investment capital from "overseas" (hiring Mexican factories is fine under NAFTA, but accepting their investors' money is not). I've seen local commercial fishermen's boats reposessed because they can't afford both the mandatory tracking equipment and their marina fees.

We should have responded to 9/11 by showing our fearlessness: by traveling more widely to create positive relationships in foreign lands, and to understand global attitudes. Instead, we have greater (and more expensive) travel restrictions than ever before, and we also have lost many of our contitutional rights to privacy and due process under law.

It's scary to live in a state where government ID cards are required for travel even within one's hometown.

It's downright criminal to find that credit cards are acceptable as ID for certain transactions, but birth certificates and military discharge papers are not.

The "ID" requirements under the PATRIOT act may in fact have contributed to the credit problems in our country, by fostering the notion that a credit card is a valid indication of social identity and trustworthiness.

We need to stick to constitutional procedures when it comes to crime and identity - and that includes protecting the rights of all citizens and residents, even when they're suspected of dire deeds. "Terror" is not a nation; it's a feeling, and making war on it only creates more of it.

If we encourage citizens to be responsible, thrifty, and alert to possible dangers - instead of depriving them of nail clippers like naughty children - we may find that more witnesses willing to give evidence.
Our justice system and laws need to protect our country from threats to both its safety and its character.

Please bring our soldiers back as soon as possible, put an end to the extraterritorial prison camps, terminate Homeland Security's mandate, and yes, if necessary, impugn our former president for his part in these deeds.

But don't forget the rest of our government's responsibility for this mess, for handing him the power in the first place. The Supreme Court for deciding a corrupt election in his favor, and both houses of Congress for granting him wartime powers and unconstitutional authority.

I'm hoping that the seriousness of this responsibility is making an impression on you. Please seek a peaceful, humble frame of mind for the decisions you will need to make in the coming months.

Yours with serious concern,
Erica K Wisner
Portland, OR 97221

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