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US needs watchdogs not lapdogs

By Rosemary Brasch - posted Wednesday, 24 November 2004

I heard it. I knew I would. John Kerry said it. George W. Bush said it. And myriad others will join the chorus.

They have told us it’s now a time of healing. But I don’t want to heal, and I don’t intend to be healed. “Healing” is merely code for shutting up and allowing the President to do whatever it is he plans to do. But we Americans have already done that for the last four years.

Four years we waited for the President to stop rending this nation apart and be a “uniter” not a divider, as he promised. Four years we gave him the benefit of the doubt as to his truthfulness. Four years the subservient press went along with whatever he and his minions said: There was almost no investigating, no insisting on substantive answers to important questions, no in-depth reporting on the effect the Bush administration was having on the country. And we kept watching.


Now we should “heal”? I think not. It’s ludicrous even to use that word given the state of our country’s health care, with 45 million Americans unable to afford medical insurance.

It’s possible that I’ve mistaken the spelling of “heal”. Perhaps what the politicians want from us is not to “heal”, but to “heel”. Like subservient pets, we’re supposed to be quiet, walk behind them, and continue to obey their commands without question.

I don’t want to obey. I don’t want to agree with this President’s immoral war. I don’t want to quietly accept the unnecessary deaths and maiming of our good young men and women and innocent Iraqi children. I don’t want to be forced to stand in a “Free-speech zone” to disagree - about anything. I want to protest wherever and however I can. It used to be a right under the First Amendment in the pre-Bush-and-Ashcroft era. I want to dissent even more fiercely and disagree more loudly than before. My voice still isn’t being heard in Washington. I want my civil rights - I want your civil rights - returned.

I don’t want to accept that my liberalism is worse than leprosy. I don’t want to accept that my Christian, Baptist, background boils down to immoral heathenism simply because I disagree with many of the President’s followers and their views of religion. And, as a registered Republican, I don’t want my political views ever to be equated with those who think they have a God-given mandate to crusade against all who see things differently.

George Bush again says he’ll reach out to Democrats. How about reaching out to all good Americans, regardless of their beliefs, who disagree with his first four-year reign of terrorism? The last time he reached out to all of America, he patted us with a tax refund with one hand and with the other hand swatted away our civil liberties, shredding our Constitution with the PATRIOT Act. A second term, with a conservative House and Senate, will give him the opportunity to add to the PATRIOT Act even more restrictions in the name of “freedom”.

There must be no second term “honeymoon” period. Four years was long enough. And, while we wait for the next election, the war against Iraq rages, destroying lives of Americans and Iraqis while al-Qaeda flourishes and grows. Our environment continues to reel from Presidential destruction. Our health care system continues to deteriorate. The President, more a “tax and spend” fanatic than any liberal ever was, will continue to weaken our economy by adding to the national debt he created. And, most of all, our rights and liberties will continue to wither under the pretext that the “war on terrorism” means we have to sacrifice our country’s principles, while the upper classes become even richer through tax cuts and no-bid contracts.


I want the world’s people (I think God may have even created them – hard to believe he made such a huge mistake with everyone but us) to see massive demonstrations throughout our country against an unjust and inhumane war and against a president who lied to get us into it, while deceiving us about how well it’s going. It’s not going well, and the rest of the world knows it, while we Americans get the purified propaganda spoon-fed to us at “briefings” and “press conferences” about the wonders of a new democratic Iraq by a scared-to-be-called-liberal press. Read the opinions of the rest of the world about Bush - not America, but Bush. We need to protest and demonstrate loudly and constantly until the Administration, the House, and the Senate - ever fearful of not being re-elected - are moved to act. I want once again to be a proud American.

So heal, or heel, if you want to, but it behooves those millions of Americans who disagreed before to do so even more vociferously now. Patriotic citizens need to be the nation’s watchdogs. We’ve allowed ourselves to be lapdogs too long.

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About the Author

Rosemary R. Brasch is a national disaster family services specialist for the Red Cross and a former union grievance officer. She can be contacted at

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