Friday, January 21, 2005

Freedom and liberty

President Bush is truly steadfast, a model of resolution in the aim of achieving his goal: the total elimination of tyranny and oppression in every corner of the globe, as put forward in his second inaugural speech yesterday. What wonderful news! Apparently, with Bush in office, we can expect:

-Equal rights for women and free elections throughout the Middle East, including countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt
-The ousting of Pervez Musharraf
-Pressure on China to democratize
-No more close relations with oppresive regimes
-Democracy in Iran

What was missing, of course, was the how, when, where, and who. Now, it sounds wonderful to parade our founding values , and few Americans would quarrel with spreading freedom around the globe, but there remains a huge gap between Bush's flighty aspirations and the reality both in D.C. and the rest of the world. In truth, he has managed to contradict much of the last four years of his administration: supporting oppresive regimes in Asia that helped out in Afghanistan, for example. Of course, these ideals are nothing new; Bush has been quite proactive about spreading freedom already. Remember Iraq?

Oh, that's right. Americans are still dying in Iraq. Most of the world still hates us for "spreading our freedom." Why? Because with Bush, spreading freedom means bullets, bombs, death, alienation, inhumanity. If Bush truly means what he says, then the American Armed Forces are going to have a busy four years. And we'd better all buy gas masks.

My favorite commentary, from the Philadelphia Inquirer, reads:

"The cherished democratic ideal of freedom took on a grim cast in President Bush's inaugural address yesterday.

"While the President didn't come right out and threaten more military invasions in far-off lands, it was hard to mistake his combative message to virtually any undemocratic nation on the planet. Embrace liberty, he warned, or face the terrible swift sword of the most powerful democracy on Earth."

There are other ways! There is diplomacy, negotiation. Reducing our reliancy on places like Saudi Arabia and China by reducing our oil intake and manfacturing our own goods, so that we aren't constantly supporting their regimes. Even Reagan could pull it off without sending American troops. In short, helping the oppressed of the world does not need to be a grab-your-gun-in-one-hand-balls-in-the-other-don't-mess-with-texas-or-you-must--hate-freedom demonstration of how much power we have!

In other news, I'm going to Jay Peak this weekend with the official McGill University Sailing Team Skiing Team. Kick ass.

Happy Birthday Kalei!!!!


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