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Restoring Liberties at Home

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Message Missy Beattie
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I know very few people who easily admit they're wrong. Saying "I'm sorry" usually is followed with a "but" in an attempt to continue the defense of a position.

Today, though, I'm stating, unequivocally, that if democracy succeeds in Iraq, I will declare: "I was mistaken. I should have had more faith."

I would be willing to utter humbly the same words Janeane Garofalo told Bill O'Reilly during an interview about her antiwar position before the Iraq invasion. O'Reilly asked Ms. Garofalo if she would retract her criticism of the president if our soldiers found WMD and were welcomed by grateful Iraqis. She told him she'd crawl on her knees over cut glass to the White House to tell the president how sorry she was and that she never should have doubted him.

As advance voting in Iraq proceeds and the election nears, I want to be hopeful. I would love to believe the words of this administration that our troops have died for the noble cause of spreading the seeds of democracy. I'd like to accept that all these deaths, including my nephew's, have not been in vain. I'd welcome some assurance that our maimed soldiers and the Iraqis we've killed have made their sacrifices for some great, tangible good.

I want to believe that the factions in Iraq are coming together as a government representing the masses and that the will of the majority will translate into freedom for all--that an Iraqi electorate will have access to liberties, progress, and justice.

I am desperately trying to be supportive of George W. Bush and the warmongers, because I'm pulling for the Iraqi people--for many reasons, one of which is totally selfish. In fact, it means the survival of my own freedom.

You see, if democracy really takes root in the Middle East, then perhaps the leadership there will form a coalition of the willing to come here and remove our weapons of mass destruction before we destroy the planet. And while that coalition is liberating us, maybe they will capture our "dictator," arrest and charge him with crimes against his own people. Then, this alliance could replant the seeds of democracy in America that so many of our administrations have failed to nurture for years now.

In fact, under the current leadership, our country has moved swiftly towards fascism with the passage of the Patriot Act, making policy based on propaganda--lies that generate fear among our population. This psychology results in the kind of control that allows a government to act and get away with so much under the mask of security.

Check out the definition of democracy and the findings of Laura Dawn Lewis. Particularly relevant are the parameters for fascism. Examine closely our placement on the spectrum under the presidency of George W. Bush. You'll understand why more and more people in this country are being plunged into poverty. You'll feel and touch the terrain of the road down which this Administration has taken us.

And you'll realize why the democracy seeds can't just be sown in Iraq but must sprout and then become lush.

We are desperate here in the United States for this freedom our president talks about establishing in the Middle East. Remember the days when people could voice their dissent and not be called unpatriotic? Remember the days when we believed pulling the lever counted? Voting irregularities soon may become the status quo as states pass laws that hand elections to the GOP.

So, let's hear it for a democratized Iraq.

And then welcome that coalition, please. Toss them flowers and hope the job is accomplished in a "cakewalk," taking only three days to restore to Americans what has become a very dim memory.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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