11 December 2010

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks 
were striking thirteen.
   - George Orwell, 1984

Two days ago, I received an email invitation from President Bill Clinton asking me for a donation of $5 or more to help pay off his wife's campaign debt. To sweeten the deal, Mr. Clinton said that for as little as a $5 contribution, I'd be entered in a drawing to win a free trip to New York City to spend the day with Mr. Clinton. He wrote, "I know you share my pride in Hillary's achievements, and I know how much your continued support means to her. That's why I want to offer you this special opportunity."

After I got over the shock of being asked to repay a rich woman's debt when I've been unable to find work for more than a year and am quickly running out of cash to repay my own debts, I sat down and wrote a reply, which I sent to Mrs. Clinton at the State Department.
Thank you, but no thank you. I won't be traveling anywhere in the near-term, and I won't be handing over $5 as a sign of approval for a person who apparently has less control over affairs of State and diplomatic protocol than the Department of Homeland Security. 
I'm very upset about what is going on with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the TSA enforcement of ridiculous regulations this week against a member of India's diplomatic corps. This, coming less than a month after Mrs. Clinton joked about how she'd avoid the TSA pat-down if she could ("I mean, who wouldn't?"). The answer is obvious -- the TSA needs to be dismantled. Immediately. The DHS needs to be scaled back dramatically, and the focus for solving the problems of terrorist activity against our nation needs to move from being reactive to proactive, and from treating symptoms to treating root causes (believe it or not, exploding planes and buildings, or men wearing explosive materials in their shoes and underwear are symptoms, not causes). The goal of our activity should be to address the root causes, and stop this insane "Spy vs. Spy" escalation. 

We're training our entire country to be mistrustful of the person next door -- and frankly, that's a country in which I don't want to live. I was on the MBTA heading into Boston yesterday, and read an advertising placard. It said, "If you want to understand God, you must first strive to understand men." The ad went on to speak about the importance of communication, compassion, and treating others with simple human dignity. I was jarred when I read the sponsor -- the Islamic Society of Boston. So, I now live in a country where my government treats its citizens as enemies, and the people the government wants me to believe are my enemies greet me with friendship? There is something very, very disturbing and wrong about this. 

Manhandling diplomats who are here as the eyes, ears, and mouths of their sovereign nations speaks volumes about the USA's inability to control what is rapidly approaching a police state mentality in this country. That ignorant, ill-advised single bad act on the part of a TSA employee has done much to make the USA even more hated in the world than it already is, and possibly set the stage for retaliation against US citizens who travel abroad for either work or pleasure. It would not surprise me to learn that on Madame Secretary's next trip to India (or a sympathetic nation), she's greeted by blue-gloved people who take her away from her entourage for the purpose of strip-searching her. 

If Mr. Clinton and Secretary Clinton are serious about providing leadership to this country, then I suggest they worry less about fundraising, and more about protecting the U.S. Constitution, its amendments, and the Declaration of Independence, all of which contain the principles upon which this country was founded. The last I checked, what is contained in those founding documents is meant to exist for all citizens, at all times -- and not be checked away when I travel by public transportation. 

I still believe in those founding principles, and I intend to do whatever I can to protect them, until I can do nothing more. Do you, and will you? Until I have an answer, don't expect money or votes from me. 

Sincerely yours,
U.S. Citizen

I know my letter's probably headed for the circular file, but I don't care. I believe that President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and every person who lays eyes on the letter on its way to the trash needs to understand that I feel deeply about what has happened to my country, and what is going on right now. I believe in protecting my civil liberties and rights, and those of my fellow citizens. We're all in this together.

That's what compassion and simple human dignity are all about.

Apparently these things are in extremely short supply up on Capitol Hill.

Excuse me. I have to get back to my job search. Nobody's sending me unearned money to pay my debts.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog cuts through complacency. Great!