There is a large and growing concern about the well-being of our democratic form of government. More and more citizens are asking questions that wouldn't have occurred to them a few years ago.
Why was the Bush administration so surprised by the Iraq insurgency and so ill-prepared for the Iraq invasion?
Did our president lie to us about the reasons for invading Iraq?
Did he know that weapons of mass destruction would not be found there?
Did he know there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11 when he went before Congress, the country and the world to justify the invasion?
How could the Bush administration not have known that toying with the Geneva Conventions would lead to atrocities such as Abu Ghraib?
Why has the president abrogated so many international treaties that had been signed after painstaking international negotiations? They were put in place for the good of humanity.Did the massive tax cuts of the Bush administration do anything substantive to improve the economy or were they really a handout for the very wealthy?
Doesn't the Bush administration care that it converted a budget surplus to a massive deficit, thereby damaging programs that were intended to meet human needs?
Are Americans more comfortable with more and more appointments going to religious fundamentalists who are free to mold the federal bureaucracy, policies and legislation to their religious beliefs?
These are questions I hear every day from family and friends in southwest Wisconsin and North Carolina and Georgia. We are very worried about the threats to our beloved and admired democratic form of government. We are patriots who care deeply for the lives of our soldiers, their families and those of the innocent Iraqi people who are killed every day.
Is the Patriot Act in our citizens' best interests or was Sen. Russ Feingold right when he recognized its glaring dangers and voted against it? I believe Americans are slowly coming to understand that our form of government must and can be saved.
It won't happen automatically. Those who believe Bush and Cheney are leading the country in the wrong direction have a responsibility to say so clearly and often. We must continue to ask these questions the administration doesn't want to answer. We must encourage people to speak out. We must make it acceptable to be independent, moderate, liberal, progressive or conservative in the best sense of the words.
When you encounter Bush supporters or single-issue ideologues, simply and civilly state your position and ask them those questions. Contribute to and be active in the campaign of your choice.
If Bush wins in November it will be because those of us who see the peril did not act to confront it and did not vote against the administration's alarming policies and actions. The right to vote is the essential and basic freedom that keeps democracy strong!
Mary Louise Symon is a former member of the Dane County Board and longtime political activist.
Copyright 2004 The Capital Times