We’re not in Kansas, any more, Toto!

As a life-long Democrat, you can imagine how I feel this morning. Or even yesterday morning. Today is a new day, of course, and we will all have to learn the new political calculus. As a public servant, I will continue to look for ways to provide value for taxpayer dollars. I am hoping that with the campaign behind us, we can roll up our sleeves to work for the people instead of for the egos of politicians. That remains to be seen, but so far the public utterings are encouraging locally (if not nationally). Here in the beautiful State of Maine we have a big challenge in front of us; I hope we can meet the challenge sensibly.

And I hope the president will use this opportunity to find a way to bring effective relief to our national job deficit problem; perhaps he can devise a way to stop helping out the wealthy (who surely don’t need any more help at this point). I think this election, at least in part, reflects anger about helping out banks while people lose their homes and their jobs. I’m not sure what the world would have looked like with a banking system in shambles, but if we don’t figure out how to solve the housing and unemployment problems, fixing health insurance (and keeping the banking system afloat) will turn out to have been just another band-aid.

Hope Springs Eternal

Early voter at the polls
Early Voter at the Polls

I spotted the camera crew as I approached the table, but was too busy with the business at hand to hear the shutter click behind me. Now my coat and hat have been immortalized as I exercised my right to vote early Tuesday morning. I always feel good after voting, even if our form of government doesn’t always make us happy. You never know whether your vote will actually amount to much, but in this case (as I was to learn much later) it could have been the deciding vote in a close election! Obviously I wrote this after the results were in, but I knew some of you would appreciate the photo.

Raising Questions about Unauthorized NSA Spying

Update 21 Jan 2006: Al Gore has given an absolutely fabulous speech criticizing the president and his administration for expanding the role of the executive branch at the expense of the other two branches, threatening the checks and balances form of government that makes America so unusual in the world. The full text of the speech is available at the American Constitution Society for Law and Society blog. I think it is one of the best speeches I have heard in a while. It certainly captures the essence of the threat to our way of life! I urge you to read it and invite you to share your thoughts with me about the issues it raises.

Original Post: I have been reading about Dick Cheney’s defense of the so-called “domestic eavesdropping program” (as characterized by CNN). The article calls the “eavesdropping” “critical to U.S. security” and refers to critics of illegal spying as “yielding to the temptation to downplay the ongoing threat to our country”. The full text of the article was at http://www.cnn.com. [Following the link will only get you current events!]

The thing that bothers me about this kind of argument is the assertion that opposing illegal activities is in any way related to downplaying the threat of terrorism. To me, this kind of rhetoric is a diversion to avoid explaining why they felt it necessary to break the law to do this spying. They have gotten practically everything else they asked for, using 9/11 as the justification, why not this as well?

I was very pleased to hear the general reaction to the news (at this point a majority are being polled as opposed to domestic spying), particularly the announcement that Senator Specter will hold hearings to discover why this policy exists (when existing laws would have provided a means for them to carry out their actions without breaking the law). It seems more like arrogance and abuse of power than patriotism and I hope they aren’t allowed to “get away with it” (whatever that means these days).

[moved from Blogger on 24 Oct 2010]