Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terri Schiavo and People Like "Us"

I wrote The Civil War Must Be Refought In Every Generation in 1996. You can read it if you want to. As you can imagine, writing in 1996, I spoke about Gingrichism and the Contract with America quite a bit. One of the things I say:

"The result of the Civil War was that there is no Contract with America. There is a contract of, by and for America. It is called the Constitution. It is made among people with American citizenship, which is a privilege that comes with being born on the land, or comes by meeting certain minimal citizenship requirements. I hold these truths to be self-evident. These other people do not."

"The people who wish to defend the Constitution better wake up and go to war to defend it. The people against the Constitution have been wide awake for a very long time."

Confidential to The Unrepentant Individual -- when I steal the term "No Easy Way To Be Free," I am talking about this --- about what it means to live under this rule of law that we set up, and the time you have to spend nurturing it, and tending to it. It is very hard. Some days it leads to hard results.

Other people's children have to sacrifice to this from time to time. It's the same argument that is made, an argument I am very sympathetic to, when they say the war has to be in Iraq so the buildings don't get blown up here. This is an argument, made, quite frankly, by many of the same people who are so upset today.

No easy way to be free.

I never thought we would tear the whole country apart over one life like this. I was wrong. Whether they put the tube back in, or not, the damage to the country has been done. Another bomb has exploded, and we set it off ourselves.

I thought that 1,500 died in Iraq to defend our way of life, but I was looking at it the wrong way. How could it be that we send all these people to Iraq to die for our way of life, but we blow everything up for this life in Florida. Is this life in Florida worth more than any of those in Iraq? Is it worth blowing up the Constitution over?

I was wrong. Because that is not, I see now, why we are in Iraq.

I thought that we send people off to die in Iraq, I thought it was to protect our way of life, to protect freedom.

When the House of Representatives, when the old Confederates, sends people off to die in Iraq, they think it is to protect "us".

And I know, as certain as the sun rises, that when these people say "us" they are not including "me." When they say "American people," they don't mean me.

But here's the news. When I say "American people" I mean all of us. Including "me." You guys do not get to drum me out of your country.

I signed up for the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights part. Because any other trump card is chaos and madness. I've written again and again on the subject, and I won't reiterate it all here.

I said all along that those who said that there was too much government did not mean there was too little freedom. They meant that it was immoral to be engaged in anything but a theocracy.

Now they've won a round, but the fight goes on. I won't be made into the "other" in my own country.

But, as I said in my post yesterday, there are not enough Jews, not enough self-styled liberals to win this fight. So people have to look after their long-term interests and decide what they want to do.

And if it goes the other way, if people like "me" are too sleepy, or too lazy or are too willing to compromise, and the survivors --- acting either under faith or under fear --- all admit that the only point of the government is to serve people like "us", who believe in "our God", then whose God will be served?