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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Dear Pat, Please don't bomb me

On the Left

I recently found myself in agreement with the State Department - a rare event - over the volatile comments of Pat Robertson, leader of that cherished religious conservative institution, "The 700 Club." Robertson seems to think that blowing up Foggy Bottom, the seat of the State Dept., with a small nuclear device is the answer to America's problems. Yet the problem I have with Robertson's comments is not that he made them, but rather that he was able to say what he did in the name of national security and nobody in the Bush administration except the State Dept. raised a voice against him.

Robertson, a loyal Bush supporter, spouted off after reading a book by Joel Mowbray about the subversive powers of the State Dept. As much as I disagree with many State Dept. policies and actions, nobody there deserves to be blown up. What is disturbing is that Robertson can continually make such comments freely while Arab-Americans continue to be detained by the murky swampland that is the Patriot Act. Why hasn't the government detained Robertson? Is it because he is a Bush supporter, is it because he is white, is it because he is a supposed Christian? I must have missed the lesson in Sunday school that taught everyone to blow away one's enemies at will. If threatening to blow up a section of the federal government isn't a possible threat to national security, I don't know what is.

While most Republicans probably don't agree with Robertson on this particular issue, he vocalizes a lot of sentiment that many shrewd Republicans - including some around Bush - share but would never say directly, including hostility toward homosexuals and non-Christians. This country was founded on theoretical principles of tolerance and diversity, but men like Robertson and the Patriot Act - a cruel misnomer - tear down that superstructure by mocking and taking away the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution. The act is just another clever ploy of the Big Brother system, which hurts the people it claims to defend. Yet the act doesn't even strip away privacy indiscriminately. Arabs and Arab-Americans are still detained with specious evidence and without explanation, and discrimination against Arabs is still high two years after Sept. 11, 2001. If the act is not amended, Bush will only lose more Arab-American supporters.

Arab-American support of Bush has dropped more than 10 percent since 2000, when almost 50 percent of Arab-Americans supported Bush in the polls. This is an important demographic Bush cannot afford to lose next year, but the chances of regaining Arab-American trust are slim. Three years ago Bush promised to reduce racial profiling and to eliminate secret evidence, or mystical information used to detain immigrants - but the exact opposite has occurred. At an Arab-American Institute conference in Dearborn, Mich. on Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean won over the Arab-American crowd by asserting that the U.S. should not have to choose between national security and civil liberties. He's right, and the Patriot Act continues to represent one of the most embarrassing pieces of legislation in our history.

Even if race and religion were not factors for detainment, the act still creates a climate of fear and uneasiness, a climate that erodes confidence in the government when it is most needed. I don't see how the lofty principles of freedom and tolerance can be instilled in the American population when people are afraid to check certain books out of their local library. Scaring Americans into mutely accepting all government policies and decisions is counter to the intelligence and freedom that we supposedly embody. If homeland security is more than just a ruse meant to alternately placate and instigate reactions of the populace, then people like Robertson, rather than random Muslims and Arab-Americans plucked off the street, should be the targets of examination for the government. The bright shadows of morality and patriotism are being cast upon the minds of Americans, but most are sadly oblivious to the legal and psychological bonds that are being tightened around them and cutting off their blood flow. The flaws of the Patriot Act, of "moral" leaders like Robertson, and of slashing civil liberties have been expounded upon before, but they need to be uttered again and again until the American population wakes up to take action.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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