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I fear for America. We now live in an America where doing nothing more than wearing a T-shirt that reminds people of the true cost of war - 2,245 dead - is grounds for Cindy Sheehan, an invited guest at the State of the Union address, to be ejected from the U.S. Capitol. Have we so little courage left? Are we so cowed in the exercise of our fundamental right to free speech, that this blatant anti-American act is deemed an acceptable consequence of our "changed times?"
Wake up! Nine/eleven didn't change our freedom to speak, to assemble, to petition the government. If it did, the terrorists have already won and we have surrendered our country without opposition. I do not believe this is yet the case, but I fear that America is on a very slippery slope.
Our political leaders have duped us by cleverly using the most effective opiate of the masses - fear. Each day words of fear are constantly spewed by politicians, hyped by the media and then repeated without questioning by too many fellow citizens. Even in the Juneau Federal Building a poster advertising the local play "What I Heard About Iraq" was prohibited from being posted while other posters are allowed. Apparently, there is a fear that mere public reference to the Iraq war might actually stimulate debate on the merit of Mr. Bush's enterprise.
I fear that unless we start standing up, Americans will continue dying in a foreign war where we have no business being in the first place. I fear that our national leadership will continue to be completely unresponsive to needs of the most vulnerable. I fear that while our political leaders preach morality they will continue to take payoffs from powerful interest groups for secret favors. I fear that while our president constantly implores us to be very, very afraid, we will forget the most basic truth: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
I truly fear for America unless we once again display the courage of our founding fathers to question authority, to demand the truth from politicians and press alike and to publicly proclaim one's personal convictions regardless of threats of official sanction. Wake up! It's not too late to return this country to the shining example of freedom in action that it should be.
Garland M. Walker