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Whenever some well-meaning conservative Christian takes issue with one of my columns chronicling the abysmal governing record of Republicans, he or she almost always exclaims, "Think how bad it would be if Democrats were in charge." The fact is, however, there has been no redemption in having the GOP in charge of the entire federal government.
The argument of voting for the lesser of two evils, meaning Republicans, loses its credence when one examines the record. And the record is clear: the GOP has developed a philosophy tantamount to fascism. Consider the following recent developments.
The Republican-led House of Representatives just recently approved a bill requiring school districts around the country to establish policies to conduct wide scale searches of students, including pat-downs, bag searches, or strip searches. I wonder how many parents are aware that their Republican representatives in Washington, D.C., are wanting to require strip searches of their children at the whim of public school employees?
Secondly, President Bush has once again defied Congress and pushed the envelope of executive power by unabashedly stating that he has "the power to edit the Homeland Security Department's reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watchlists." Bush made the above declaration in another one of his copious signing statements.
Yet, as many legal experts have warned, Bush's propensity to use excessive signing statements is nothing more than a way to expand his power. There is little legal justification for such action, but with Republicans in charge of Congress, who is going to blow the whistle on him? We couldn't even trust Congress to blow the whistle on Mark Foley!
Thirdly, the Bush administration has apparently successfully convinced Congress to permanently dismantle the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It's not worded that way, of course, but that is exactly what they are doing.
Specifically, according to former Republican congressman Bob Barr, the Republican House has passed, and the Senate appears ready to pass, legislation requested by President Bush that would "allow warrantless surveillance of virtually any international phone call and email of American citizens."
The bill also "authorize[s] the attorney general without court approval to order Internet service providers and other types of companies to give the NSA access to communications and equipment regarding information on its customers" without any proof or evidence of those communications being connected to terrorists.
This legislation also allows "warrantless physical searches of Americans' homes for extended periods without any evidence presented to a court that the homeowner is conspiring with or connected to terrorists."
Barr summarized this proposed legislation by saying, "Taken as a whole, the powers thus sought by the administration, and which have already been given imprimatur by the House, would do irreparable damage to the underpinnings of the Fourth Amendment.
"If signed into law, these measures would destroy the fundamental notion that American citizens enjoy a right to privacy in their homes, persons and businesses to be free from arbitrary government surveillance and searches. That may sound apocalyptic, but believe me, it is not. It is a fact."
It seems clear that "conservative" Republicans want to save us from liberal Democrats the same way that German fascists wanted to save their country from communists. In the end, both parties seek to dismantle freedom and constitutional government. They only differ in style; in substance they are twins. While fiercely opposing each other, both parties seek but one thing: unbridled power.
As things stand now, we do not need to fear al Qaeda, Iran, or North Korea near as much as we need to fear the abuse of power from within our own government. There is no question in my mind that we have the military power and strength to fight off any foreign enemy. The bigger question is, Do we have the moral power and strength to fight off those within our own country who would strip us of our freedoms? How we answer that question will determine our ultimate destiny.