Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
As President George W. Bush leaves office, his approval ratings are the lowest of any departing President since Truman. The economy is in a mess and we still have a great number of U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republican political types don’t want Bush near them and Democrats ran their 2008 races against him. On the surface, it appears Bush’s legacy will be one of a failed Presidency, but history tends to be kind to those who occupy the Oval Office and display the courage to make tough decisions- right or wrong. Bush has that attribute—he is willing to make a decision.

No President since Roosevelt has faced the threat of Americans being attacked on our own soil. Bush responded quickly and decisively in the face of the 9/11 terrorist attack. No one would have expected America would go seven years without another attack, but that has been the case. Certainly President Bush made mistakes because he is human, but two major mistakes were the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the enacting of the Patriot Act.
The Patriot Act infringes upon every American’s personal liberty by granting government power to monitor a private citizen’s activities. It dramatically increased the scope of government and in the hands of politicians with a socialist agenda will no doubt be misused and have "unintended consequences." While Bush pushed for passage of the Patriot Act, this wasn’t just a GOP ideology. It took the support of both Republicans and Democrats to get the Patriot Act through Congress and to keep it in effect.

It is more than just a little bit of overkill for honest hardworking Americans to endure long lines at security checkpoints holding their shoes in their hand when the perpetrators of 9/11 were clearly illegal immigrants in our country. It’s like making all the class write sentences for chewing gum when the teacher knows the exact student who is chewing gum. The attacks of 9/11 should have been a wake-up call for stronger border security and immediate deportation for illegal immigrants, but instead government elected to punish everyone—citizens and illegal immigrants with the Patriot Act. America is at war and that requires sacrifices that may include allowing the government to have temporary access to documents and communication that may involve matters of national security. However, I’m afraid with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, these "temporary sacrifices" will be permanent. It is a sad fact our personal liberties have deteriorated under the Bush administration.

Another mistake of the Bush Presidency was the creation of a huge new governmental agency known as the Department of Homeland Security. This new cabinet level agency has such far reaching authority that it organizes their activities all the way down to the local level. Under the guise of security, the government monitors activities that were once off limits—ones that have nothing to do with the war on terror. If the government is so interested in our personal security, why is their so much resistance in Washington to the U.S. Constitution’s second amendment—the right to keep and bear arms?

The fact is government cannot guarantee anyone’s personal security. Only a sovereign Creator can do that and for government to arrogantly declare that we are safe only proves their ignorance. If you want proof read the story of Ahab in 1 Kings, a man who thought he was safe, but wasn’t. Our lives are in the hands of God and the sooner we realize that, the more at peace we will be. I thank God that President Bush was in the Oval Office during one of the most dark moments in our nation’s history, but I also understand God has kept us safe these past seven years, not President Bush, congress or the government.

In his final radio address to the nation on Saturday, President Bush said, "You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions." Pulling the trigger is not always an easy task, but Bush is decisive and courageous. He is not a man who votes present or who doesn’t take a stand on an issue. I believe history will be kind to President Bush because of those attributes. As President Barrack Obama takes office, it remains to be seen if he will show the same leadership ability that President Bush has displayed. In the past, Obama has been unwilling to tackle the hard issues, but for the sake of America, let’s pray he succeeds.

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