The Presidents enemies joyfully attacked him for ignoring the Constitution and for overstepping the bounds of executive power. They also blamed him for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers. Even members of his own party were unsupportive of many of his initiatives. Yes indeed, Abraham Lincolns opponents never missed a chance to attack their Commander in Chief for his perceived abuses of power.
Of course, George Bush evil as he is is no match for the wonton villainy of Abraham Lincoln (Insert sarcastic tone of your choice here). How the vast majority of Americans consistently rank Lincoln as our greatest president is a mystery. Our 16th president, after all, refused to compromise on slavery, suspended habeas corpus, declared martial law, and ordered the arrest of thousands of public officials and numerous newspaper publishers. He even considered imprisoning the Chief Justice.
Though Bushs arrogance has yet to reach this height his approval of wiretapping without first obtaining a warrant is surely the next step on his road to becoming more like the evil Mr. Lincoln. Of course, the only problem with the evil Mr. Lincoln theory is that history vindicated the 16th president. Lincolns opponents therefore find themselves on the wrong side of history and, let those opposed to fighting the terrorists with everything we have beware, history has a way of repeating itself.
Lincolns actions were not a means to increase his own power or to expand the reach of the executive branch. Rather, his objective was two-fold save the Union and prevent the spread of slavery. Over the course of the war the goal changed to ending slavery outright. In hindsight we see Lincolns actions as necessary to the preservation of the Union and the ending of slavery. In other words, to secure freedom for an enormous section of the country hitherto held in bondage Lincoln saw fit to temporarily ignore the rights of the few.
Bush has not gone nearly so far yet we are at a point in history where our current presidents goals are not only just as important as Lincolns but a failure in meeting them could result in a truly catastrophic loss of life. Over half a million men died from 1861 to 1865 the largest number of American soldiers ever lost in a single conflict and almost more than all our other wars combined but that number could be multiplied several times in a matter of mere seconds. A nuclear explosion in New York, LA, or Chicago could end the lives of as many as five times that number or even more.
Say what you will about President Bush his failure to secure our borders, his inability to force through improvements in Social Security, his lackluster performance in selling many of his administrations ideas and showcasing its successes, and the enormous increase in federal spending he has presided over we have not had a terrorist attack on our soil since September 11.
The attacks upon Bushs approval of wiretapping border on self-destructive insanity. He broke the law, some claim. If he did, then he broke a law that needs to be changed or outright eliminated. Indeed, what do laws exist for but to protect we the people? These accusations of criminal actions, made by people who either fail to understand reality or who care more about attacking Bush than about the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and friends who could die, harm our effort to win this war. Do the liberals hate him so much that they are willing to allow another 3,000 deaths or worse in an attempt to harass or vilify him? If you dont like Bush, fine, I dont think hes perfect either. But it is petty vindictiveness, motivated by partisan politics, to fight the Presidents efforts to prevent large numbers of people from being killed.
The Constitution of the United States is our document guaranteeing certain rights. Those rights mean little, however, when one is forced to jump to their death from a burning building (as an estimated 200 people did on September 11). Those rights mean little when your spouse dies as they crash into the side of the Pentagon. Those rights mean little when a child dies as his or her body is blown apart in a field in Pennsylvania. Those rights mean little as a terrorist raises his sword above the exposed neck of a helpless hostage. And those rights will mean even less if an entire city burns in radioactive fires.
Im not talking about scraping the Constitution in favor of mob rule, a despot, or anything else so extreme. Indeed, our Constitution is a precious document and is the best possible form of government yet conceived by the mind of man. But wiretapping foreign calls from known terror suspects is simply an intelligent response to the danger we face. Unfortunately, you cant explain such common sense, self-evident facts to some. Take Ted Kennedy and his recent op-ed On wiretapping, Bush isnt listening to the Constitution. Oh really? I would be absolutely delighted to sit down with Teddy a copy of the Constitution between us and ask the Senator some questions on his voting record. Kennedys whiney accusation is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. And Tom Daschles Power we didnt grant op-ed is another excellent example of a stubborn refusal to see the facts right in front of ones face.
Will it take another terrorist attack to blow their eyes open? Weve got politicians who seem to think the concrete facts of life or death situations somehow take a back seat to some nebulous concept of a right to privacy. What a joke. There is no real privacy when it comes to our government anyway. Just try to keep your earnings private from the government and the IRS can make your life miserable, force you into bankruptcy, and literally take everything you have. Income is obviously one of those pieces of information people wish to keep private yet Daschle and Kennedy seem unconcerned with this particular invasion.
The end of slavery and the preservation of a Union that would soon become the greatest, wealthiest, and most blessed country in the world is Lincolns legacy. He considered the United States its freedoms and its ideals as the last, best hope of earth as a form of government that allowed people to flourish and control their own destinies rather than a government that holds them in bondage. To save the country and end the bondage the greater good
Lincoln temporarily exceeded the authority the Constitution gave him. The crisis now is not just for our freedom but for our very survival as well. So wiretap all incoming calls from known terrorists you want, Mr. President. Stand firm against the real villains who wish to kill us as well as the ignorant people who naively help them.Jeff OBryant is an amateur historian and holds two degrees, a bachelors in education and a bachelors with honors in history. He is a columnist and staff writer for The Catoosa County News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.