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November 10, 2003

Give 'Em Hell, Gore

Yesterday, Al Gore gave another in his continuing series of speeches condemning the Bush administration for its so-called "war on terror." I spent the day volunteering at the event, which was sponsored by and the ACS. It looks like the speech is beginning to get decent coverage from the press, but you can also read the full text here.

Although the major press seems to be focusing on the sensational comparison of the Bush Administration to Big Brother, the real crux of the speech for me was the way Gore explained that argument. Gore said:

I want to challenge the Bush Administration’s implicit assumption that we have to give up many of our traditional freedoms in order to be safe from terrorists. 

Because it is simply not true. 

In fact, in my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama Bin Laden.

In both cases, the Administration has attacked the wrong target.

In both cases they have recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger, while avoiding and neglecting obvious and much more important challenges that would actually help to protect the country.

In both cases, the administration has fostered false impressions and misled the nation with superficial, emotional and manipulative presentations that are not worthy of American Democracy. 

In both cases they have exploited public fears for partisan political gain and postured themselves as bold defenders of our country while actually weakening not strengthening America.

In both cases, they have used unprecedented secrecy and deception in order to avoid accountability to the Congress, the Courts, the press and the people.

Indeed, this Administration has turned the fundamental presumption of our democracy on its head.  A government of and for the people is supposed to be generally open to public scrutiny by the people -- while the private information of the people themselves should be routinely protected from government intrusion. 

But instead, this Administration is seeking to conduct its work in secret even as it demands broad unfettered access to personal information about American citizens.  Under the rubric of protecting national security, they have obtained new powers to gather information from citizens and to keep it secret. Yet at the same time they themselves refuse to disclose information that is highly relevant to the war against terrorism.

Funny, isn't it? One of the most secretive (if not the most secretive) administrations in American history is also the most eager to rewrite laws to enable government agents to pry into our private lives. Again I wonder, why would anyone even consider voting for Bush in 2204?

Posted November 10, 2003 06:55 AM | election 2004 general politics

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