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Global Misunderstanding Spotlights our Freedom
This last weekend, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, grilled our president as to why he fired reporters at CBS. President Bush then attempted to explain that, as President of the United States, he has no power to hire or fire any member of the press. Later on at a press conference, he was asked a substantially identical question by a Russian journalist. Again, our President was placed in the position of explaining the reality of the American press. While some were a tad upset about this kind of inaccurate presumption behind these ignorant questions, I took this as a time to reflect and be thankful.
We live in a society where the people hear from a press that is unfettered from governmental control. I have the right to post up this web site that praises our President and other conservatives, and Thanks to God, liberals also have the right to post up their attacks on the President and other conservatives. You read that right, I am thankful to God for the liberalsí right to post up their speech, even when it is comprised solely of irrational invective. One cannot gag one faction without risking the other. The fact that our Constitution aggressively protects the freedom to engage in robust public debate is a lynchpin of our success as a nation.
"In Russia, Mr. Putin has the ability to get rid of dissent. In fact, he successfully jailed and ruined an opponent who was at the time on of the top five richest people on Earth."
In Russia, Mr. Putin has the ability to get rid of dissent. In fact, he successfully jailed and ruined an opponent who was at the time on of the top five richest people on Earth. So, he naturally assumes that our President commands the same authority. Nothing could be further from the truth. The government could not stop the Pentagon Papers from being published. President Nixon could not squelch the Watergate tapes. President Ford could not even control the facts in his biography via the copyright laws! Our Constitution is structured so that the people retain their right to gripe about their government, to petition for change, and even to revolt if it becomes tyrannical (See the 2nd Amendment)! That freedom is our greatness in a nutshell.
What a wonderful country we are blessed to live in, where we even prevail over a liberal attack on our rights (McCain-Feingold Campaign finance "reform"), and find a way to make the debate more open and robust than ever! Need proof? See Michael Moore and the Swift Boat Vets in 2004. We speak freely, and the people make up their own minds. How wonderful it is that we have not propaganda, but rather reasoned argument backed by facts! How wonderful is it that the people have the right to dissent from the viewpoint of the leadership with impunity, knowing that there is no secret police to come haul them away under cover of darkness!
It is apparent that people around the world simply do not understand the power of our people. They operate under the assumption that George W. Bush has and uses Putinesque powers to squelch his opponents. But, thankfully to God, it is untrue! What is true is that our President has no power to stuff a sock in the mouth of the press or of any person. Neither does the Congress. Nor do the courts. In fact, those courts have made broad rulings that protect and enshrine our most fundamental right after life itself. Even libels -- damaging lies -- are curtailed when it comes to the press; one must show that the press knowingly printed false information or did so with a reckless disregard as to whether it was true.
This wonderful sense of debate empowers the people to change their government by giving their viewpoints voice. For example, the McCain-Feingold [incumbent protection] act was designed to squelch money given by certain groups to the political parties. Instead, this money can now be given to "527" groups, which do not have to toe the party line. The result in 2004 was a relentless attack on our President by everyone from MoveOn.Org to Michael Moore and George Soros pumping tens of millions of dollars into these 527s. Was this a bad thing? Nope. Why? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth also raised a token $500,000 and countered the lunatic-fringe leftís snowstorm of hate with a short, simple message. Other conservative 527s spread their message. The people trumped the McCain-Feingold juggernaut, and were informed better than ever before, causing the biggest turnout in American history. The people showed up and mandated our Presidentís plans, giving him increased Congressional majorities to do his work.
When you are tempted to complain about the state of America, look at the state of the other countries in this world. We are blessed, blessed, blessed! If this were Russia, Michael Moore would be in (very big) shackles, locked in a dungeon next to Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. Instead, Streisand and Hoffman presented the Best Picture Oscar on worldwide TV last night. Chris Rock would have been shot for his Bush jokes at the Oscars. Heís fine and well. And because there is that dissent without fear, we are a great country indeed. Thank God.