Banks County Opinions...

February 27, 2002


Editorial

The Banks County News
February 27, 2002

Jamieson continues to serve Banks County well
The recent redistricting by the Georgia legislature has left political shock waves across Georgia and is still being wrestled with in a federal court.
The proposed new map has split some counties into three or four districts. In nearby Madison County, citizens would have three House of Representatives members and two Senators representing them. In Jackson County, the story is the same with the county being split three ways. This would be a nightmare for county and city residents. It would also lead to lots of confusion come election time.
Here in Banks County, Rep. Jeanette Jamieson fought hard for her district to remain intact. Her district is one of the few that hasn’t been cut into pieces by the redistricting.
Jamieson may not live in Banks County, but she has put this county’s needs first during her time in office and she continues to do so. In state battles, she is one that you want to have on your side and we are glad that we do.


Column

By: Kerri Graffius
T
he Banks County News
February 27, 2002

The things we can't question in America right now
Itıs a dangerous time in America to say you donıt trust the president.
But, I donıt trust the president.
No, Iım not saying I donıt like President George W. Bush or Republicans. What I am saying, however, is that anytime our political leaders use vague policies and outspoken words to spoon-feed the public is when I start to question whatıs really happening behind closed doors.
Such is the case of the War on Terrorism.
And unlike more recent wars, such as Desert Storm and Vietnam, the War on Terrorism has become such a politically-sensitive ³war² that we are apparently not asking the tough questions that times of war necessitate.
The American public, and even the national media, has turned its eye from carefully questioning why and how weıre conducting this war and if weıre doing it in the most ethical manner possible.
Itıs even more difficult to question this war when, in fact, Congress has not declared war on any nation.
With the September 11th attacks happening so suddenly, so horrifically and so close to home it seems that our emotions have guided how we handle this war and not our minds.
And speaking negatively—in any manner—about our public leaders, the military and even the president is one of the most dangerous things you can do in America right now.
Such is the case with Michael Moore, a man that has been known to take the inequalities of the nation and make a poignant, but humorist remark about them in hopes something will change in America.
Before September 11, Moore had written a book called ³Stupid White Men² in which he poked fun at politicians (including Democrats), Enron (pre-scandal) and of course, George W. Bush.
But following the attacks of Sept. 11, Moore said he was informed by his publisher ³the political climate had changed in America² and his book critizing Bush would not be met with open arms by a public that was now dealing with its emotions. Furthermore, Moore was told to change large portions of his book and that thousands of already printed copies would be destroyed. In other words, he was censored.
Moore, however, took his case to the public and many people said his bookıs ill-timing didnıt mean the book should become a real-life ³Fahrenheit 451²—a classic novel you probably read in high school about the dangers of censoring literature containing material deemed insensitive (by someoneıs notion of ³insentive²).
Today, Mooreıs untouched book is one of the best-selling books in the nation.
Yet, his story about getting his book published in these post-Sept. 11 times is something we should note.
Have we become so careful not to question and even laugh at our political leaders that doing so would mean being ³politically incorrect² nearly five months after the attacks? Canıt we at least question if what weıre doing in this war is at the very least ethical and truly moving positive ideals forward in the world? Should we continue to support how the war is being handled without even wondering if the blank check Congress has given the president to fight terrorism is being spent where it should be spent?
Ironically, this nation was founded upon the principals that the public should have some idea as to how our elected leaders are conducting themselves. We have the right, unlike many other countries, to publically criticize our elected leaders without fear of prosecution. While we certainly donıt have the right to know everything, we are no less afforded with the right to know how our leaders are conducting business in the publicıs offices.
War times are tricky, however. You certainly want us to win (and that will require lots of money), but you canıt know everything about the war for fear your enemy will use it against your plans.
Whatıs different about this war is how the American public seems to be too easily accepting of every aspect of the War on Terrorism.
President Bush seems more concerned about appealing to our heartıs desires to constantly call the terrorists ³evil-doers² and point more fingers at other nations rather than concentrating on how we can truly reform these nations that harbor known terrorists.
Even former President Jimmy Carter said last week in a speech at Emory University that President Bushıs words about the ³axis of evil² were ³overly simplistic² and ³counterproductive.²
Yes, weıre apparently winning the war, but we seem to be doing so at the cost of our Consitutional rights—which Carter pointed out. And, I canıt help but wonder if the way the U.S. has labeled the prisoners in Cuba as void of their Geneva Convention rights will someday (possibly years from now) be used against Americans detained by other nations in future wars.
Since we have our guard down now, the government has used this opportunity to begin the slow and quiet process of changing how we freely live in America—in the name of the War on Terrorism. From
racial profiling of Muslim-Americans to more survelliance on every corner, weıre easily allowing government officials to cross the line of national security to our private lives.
I have no doubt that Americans must accept some changes in the wake of the September 11th attacks, which mocked our open society; but, we shouldnıt allow our rights to slowly fade in the coming years. We deserve to know if what our political leaders are doing is ethical, and believe me, their words will always say that they are. Which is why we should question how this war is being dealt with, especially with Americansı sensitive emotions for the time being and the multi-billion dollar blank checks weıve given our leaders.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her email address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

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