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Nathan Imhoff: America needs more than fear-mongering

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Posted: December 9, 2009 4:18 p.m.
Updated: December 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
On Nov. 23, Steve Lunetta wrote a column (“Eric Holder’s bad decisions”) in which his fear and misguided logic came shining through in a poorly executed, conservative talking-point stew he attempted to pass off as a column.

On March 5, 1770, British troops opened fire on a crowd of unarmed civilians in Boston, killing five people. The shooting became known as the Boston Massacre and pushed anti-British sentiment to its near-boiling point.

Britain wanted the soldiers extradited to Britain to ensure its soldiers received a fair trial. Acting on a new sense of self-identity and independence, the American colonies refused.

The American colonialists were angry and wanted justice for this tragedy. Many wanted to forego a trial and just hang the soldiers from the closest tree.

But John Adams, our second president and quite possibly our most influential founding father, saw this as an opportunity to set an American precedent by representing these soldiers.

Adams saw an opportunity to show Britain and the world American principles were just and fair and America could take care of its own problems.

Adams, unlike Lunetta, never tried to rationalize why it was OK to deviate from American principles.

Some conservatives, such as Todd Akin, R-Mont., are the first to talk about how much they adore the Pledge of Allegiance because “liberals hate it” since it includes the phrase “under God.”

Conservatives conveniently forget — and in the case of Akin literally forget — the last phrase in the pledge states: “With liberty and justice for all.”

In Akin’s defense, that last part does sounds pretty liberal. The Pledge of Allegiance, after all, was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and socialist.

So let’s do our best to understand this logic (or lack thereof): Conservatives like Lunetta and Akin will fight to make sure their children say the Pledge of Allegiance every day to remind them before school that they live in the United States of America, a land of “liberty and justice for all.”

They then turn around and start to qualify who deserves this liberty and justice.

This behavior actually isn’t new. Bellamy wanted to put the word “equality” in with liberty and justice, but the racist and sexist school boards during his time wouldn’t have it.

Conservatives forget the principles upon which our country was founded. They work so hard to turn the home of the brave into the land of the cowards and whiners.  

Americans pride themselves on being the most principled people in the world. Those principles seem to have been lost sometime after Sept. 11, 2001.

We now allow fear and overactive imaginations to take over and justify the discrimination toward Arabs of the world.

This is the same kind of fear humanity justified during World War II, which fueled the hatred of the Jews in Germany.

Even the men who systematically killed 6 million Jews, ordered carpet bombings that killed thousands of British civilians, and attempted to take over Europe and then the world got their trials and dates with the hangman’s noose.

Lunetta quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Sept. 18 questioning of Attorney General Holder, and just like Graham, R-S.C., totally forgot about Zacarias Moussaoui who was put on trial in Virginia and convicted of six counts of various terrorist offenses, including planning the 9/11 attacks. Where was Graham on that one?

He also forgets our socialist friends Spain and Britain have tried and convicted every terror suspect who went through their systems. These countries have also had major attacks and al-Qaida cells operating in their countries.

Lunetta’s argument that it will be too expensive to conduct the trials in New York is laughable. How much money are we spending now paying to staff the prison at Guantanamo Bay?

Since when does America put a price on its principles?

Perhaps it was around the time we threw out the Constitution, signed over most of our rights and spent trillions to illegally invade sovereign countries with faulty intelligence and without congressional approval.

These terrorist trials in New York are governed by international law and will most likely resemble military tribunals. In no way is this a slap in the face to New York.

The trials and convictions (and most likely executions) of these terrorists will help bring closure and healing to this chapter in our country’s history.  

I hope conservatives stop making bad decisions and find some principles and maturity along the way — maybe even stop exploiting the memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for political gain.

I hope conservatives can find something to offer America besides more of the same cowardly fear-mongering that has spoon-fed the red, white and blue for the better part of this decade.

Nathan Imhoff is a Newhall resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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