Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why 2008 Matters

And now, a special comment by Greg Ostrander:

While I can appreciate that there are tactical reasons to run on the economy and the war, from where I sit there are far larger issues at stake in this election. There are certainly points on which I disagree with Obama, but he is a very smart man who cares about the large and serious issues that confront our country, and though he has not emphasized it recently, I believe he has the background to address one of the most pernicious legacies of the Bush administration.

One aspect of this election that gets lost in the shuffle as the campaign highlights the economic concerns facing our nation is the dramatic loss of our moral compass over the last eight years. Russia doesn't feel any need to listen to moral suasion from a country that engaged in torture in Iraq, "extraordinary rendition" throughout the world (an oblique way of saying kidnapping without judicial process with an end result of harsh interrogation if not torture), and a war based on trumped up claims of WMDs and links to 9/11. The economy is certainly important, but our nation was founded on principles that go beyond the current economic outlook, principles that have truly been endangered by the vast and arrogant expansion of Presidential power the current administration has engaged in.

Obama is a constitutional law expert, and has the fortitude to make hard choices without imperiling the constitutional goals that are the true source of the greatness of our country. McCain heralded a recent Supreme Court decision that granted rights to detainees as one of the worst in our history, a shocking interpretation of a decision that allows individuals against whom no charges have been brought to challenge their detention in federal court. This is one of the most fundamental aspects of the rule of law: that an executive authority does not have unilateral power to lock someone up and throw away the key without a check by another branch of government to confirm that such detention is appropriate. Bush has repeatedly attacked such rights as incompatible with his view of executive prerogative. McCain has now indicated a clear agreement with this approach, and whether through repeated arguments, by ignoring the Court, or by replacing a current liberal with a far right justice it is clear that he will continue this unprecedented attack on the very core of our constitutional system. We can't afford another 4 years where the basic elements of our system are under relentless attack. The price is too high.

I have been too sanguine regarding this election up until now. I just couldn't see how the people of this nation could stomach the ticket the Republicans have offered and the absolute failure of the Republicans to put forth any positive ideas regarding the challenges we face. We can't afford to be complacent any longer. There is still time before the election to make a real difference in the communities we live. The Obama campaign has done a remarkable job of building the organizational infrastructure necessary to make sure that your time and energies aren't wasted. Here is the link for the "neighbor to neighbor" page on Obama's website, but there are other ways of helping the campaign and I would encourage you to explore the website and get in touch with your local office to find a way to volunteer in a manner that fits your personality. If time is a luxury that you don't have enough of, I would encourage you to donate here which will provide for a doubling of your contribution if it is made prior to Friday. And if you want to get fired up about what Obama's candidacy means to this country, and all of the different types of people who are our fellow Americans, I would suggest you click here.


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