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A changed nation: what do we stand for now?

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Never before were President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s immortal words more applicable: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Since the attacks of Sept. 11, widespread national fear has proven this nation’s most crippling and non-fictitious enemy. Look at what fear has done to this country, and look at what fear has made us do. Gone are the days of defiance and idealism that characterized our nation’s birth. Quickly we crawled back into our protectionist hole when attacked, surrendering the rights that our forefathers died defending so that our government would make us safe. Easily we accepted the words passed along by this administration as fact, not questioning. Where did democracy go? When did a person who questions become un-American?How much more will we sacrifice at the alter of National Security? Already burnt are some of the very pillars of our existence. The dignity of all humans‚ will take a long time to gain acceptance among the world’s community as a principle that America stands and fights for. Acceptance is not possible as long as we detain without just cause torture and murder in cold blood of innocent humans largely for their skin color, religion, language and associations. What will we not destroy in the name of our own safety? Already we have taken what was not ours: the lives of 100,000 Iraqi civilians, none of whom asked for these Christian saviors. What do we stand for now? Opportunity? Not as long as millions of immigrants, starving, weary and persecuted are annually turned away at our borders. “There is no room at the inn.” Democracy? Not as long as government propaganda is passed off as unbiased news. Not as long as swing votes count for more and the second place finisher assumes control. Human dignity? Not as long as 43 million Americans lack health care and our administrators aim to take away the security earned by those from whom we inherited this country. Not as long as hundreds are put to death each year in the state’s name, in my name, in the name of every American tax-payer.Freedom? Not as long as my library records are fair game for intelligence officials, and peaceful activist organizations are infiltrated by spies. Equality? Not as long as poor inner city areas and prisons overflow with an inordinate percentage of the minority population. Natural Beauty? Not as long as even our natural reserves fall victim to our own oil-lust. What is America now? Where is that sanctuary for the tired, the weak and the huddled masses yearning to be free? Wake up America and look at our country from the perspective of our children 50 years from now. Will today be remembered as the day that the greatest nation succumbed to the violence, lies and hatred brought upon us by our attackers? Or will this be the day that America rises to the challenges of our times, and, armed with the same ideals that spawned this nation’s greatness, combats oppression with freedom, war with peace and fear with hope.

Dan Schnorroff-campusseniorMarch 21