to Our Representatives
By the North Broward Democratic Club
This is a copy of a letter sent by the members of the
North Broward Democratic Club to their representatives in
Pompano Beach, FL
Dear Senator Graham and Senator Nelson,
We, the members of the North Broward Democratic Club, along
with the other freedom-loving citizens of this nation, watch
current events unfolding with a growing sense of alarm. In
a time when all Americans supposedly share a common purpose,
we see the Bush administration and Justice Department exploiting
the American people's fear and uncertainty in a cynical attempt
to ram their right wing agenda through. From their outrageous
corporate sponsor payback, euphemistically described as "economic
stimulus"- to their scandalous tax cut for the wealthy
that gutted our surplus and raids our treasury for a decade
to come - to their horrendous foreign policies that isolate
us, destabilize the globe and embarrass us before the world
- at every turn, this administration has aligned itself against
the best wishes of it's majority of citizens, that same majority
that voted against it's agenda on November 7, 2000.
But the most insidious threats emanate from this government's
attitude to law and civil rights. The events of September
11 have understandably shaken the American people, but the
efforts being taken by the Justice Department undermine the
rights and rule of law that define us. For several months
now, Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department
have circumvented the Constitutional rights of an unknown
number of persons by imprisoning them, without charge, and
without access to the courts. We do not know their names,
their location, or their impending fate - and neither do their
families. Along with the incredibly misled PATRIOT Act, Congress
allowed this unforgivable knee-jerk reaction to occur, at
a time when cool heads and leadership was sorely needed. This
same Act also raised the unthinkable spectre of secret military
trials, empowered with the death penalty. Trials in which
the accused's rights to evidence and appeal were abridged
and final judgement was reserved for the President himself.
No charges have, to our knowledge, been leveled at these prisoners.
Their continuing incarceration has served no purpose other
than to illustrate our willingness to abandon the rule of
law when we deem it inconvenient. To our recollection, the
Constitution makes no mention of this seemingly transient
property of freedom - nor does it make these rights contingent
upon citizenship- as we recall, these rights are inalienable
to all men.
At the same time that the Justice Department casually overrides
the rights of thousands of non-citizens, it is making unprecedented
moves to trample the constitutional rights of those lucky
enough to carry an American passport. Laws governing wire
taps and surveillance gathering have been drastically, dangerously
widened. A lawfully passed measure by the people of the State
of Oregon to let it's senior citizens end their suffering
with some degree of dignity; a law exercising the will of
the people of the State of California to alleviate the suffering
of it's terminal and chronically ill patients - both these
legal and mandated measures have been actively thwarted by
a Justice Department that tramples states rights in order
to impose Attorney General John Ashcroft's own moral leanings.
No less shocking than Mr. Ashcroft's unwarranted activism
in these matters was his response to Congress when asked to
explain them. According to the Attorney General, anyone who
questioned the actions of this Government or it's agents was
aiding and abetting the terrorist forces who perpetrated the
horrific events of 9/11. We watched in open mouthed astonishment
at the audacity of his testimony. As special counsel for the
prosecution, Joseph Welch, at the McCarthy hearings once exclaimed,
"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you
no sense of decency?" Apparently, dissent or discussion of
this adminstration's policies is no longer welcome.
At the same time that our civil rights are being increasingly
infringed, the most worrying aspects still lie ahead of us.
Judicial appointments to the Federal and Appellate courts
will shape our country for many years to come. The Administration
has amply demonstrated it's intent to skew the courts to the
right with it's appointments and nominations to date. An especially
cynical move to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program
(CHIP) to pregnant women by covering the fetus, not the mother,
is actually a stealth attack at Roe v. Wade. Each day
brings new terrible things to light about the Bush agenda.
As our elected representatives, we depend on you and your
colleagues in the opposition to actively fight for our interests.
We are all too aware that the brave men and women who have
fought and died through our country's history did so in defense,
not of a flag or an abstract symbol, but of these very ideals.
They do not defend a government or a President, but a concept,
voiced in a document written by men beyond their time. This
is our legacy to our children, and we owe it to future generations
to protect it.
Osama bin Laden and all the terrorist forces ranging against
us around the world can, and probably will continue to, do
us damage. They can destroy our buildings, threaten our lives
and shake our sense of security. But Attorney Ashcroft and
President Bush are mistaken when they claim that the aim of
the terrorists is to take away our freedom.
That has to be given away.
North Broward Democratic Club