It’s been a good run.’ When I started this column at the beginning of this semester, I had high hopes.’ I was going to solve the world’s problems, utilizing self-induced witty reparte, satire, and good old common sense.’ I fell short of that goal, though I did manage to at least scratch the surface of the most important issues plaguing us today.’ Based on what I have accomplished in about ten columns, I estimate that it would take at least four to five years, at one column per week, to thoroughly cover certain aspects of the world around us.

This week’s column will focus on a recurring trend in my pieces: not being afraid to stand up for what is right.’ I have a habit of reading through the New York Times website, BBC Online, and a handful of blog sources several times a day in an attempt to better understand my world.’ I’ve had this habit for five to six years now, though when I started, the term ‘blog’ didn’t quite exist yet.’ In my daily research, I’ve seen a very troubling trend in this country.’ We have become a nation of children, willing to parrot infantile rhetoric, with loud and whiny voices.’ We have become a people who no longer value our constitutional rights to the American dream; voters on the right of the aisle have all but given up the right to defend oneself in a court of law, forfeiting habeus corpus, while liberals have fallen in love with the idea of a fascist state, dictated by the doctrine of political correctness.’ It saddens me.

I’ve watched George W. Bush erode civil liberties in ways that were once incomprehensible.’ Just ten years ago, when you committed a crime, regardless of how heinous, you were arrested, charged officially, and given both representation and a day in court.’ Today, if the crime is considered an act of terror by the Justice Department, you are arrested without due process and detained indefinitely.’ This is not what the great men of our past had in mind when they crafted the Constitution and fought so bravely for our independence.

For the sake of fairness, it is worth noting that liberals, too, support a new brand of fascism that is simply un-American.’ Liberals have been flirting with overtly fascist regimes for years now, reaching an absurd crescendo with Nancy Pelosi visiting Syria in a headscarf.’ There are many members of Congress who are opposed to war with Iran at all costs, insisting instead that we speak at our enemies as they develop the means to annihilate us.’ It is very difficult to understand how liberal people, who truly consider themselves to be champions of civil liberties, can so quickly come to the aid of terror states.’ Any politician who claims to be a ‘friend of Syria,’ as Pelosi just declared herself to be, has the blood of innocents on her hands.

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On a related note, I am not sure how many of you have heard of the recent Ham Incident that took place in Lewiston, Maine, last month.’ A student placed a ham sandwich next to a Muslim student.’ It was immediately condemned as hate speech, prompting an investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s office.’ Under the guise of political correctness, liberally minded people have unintentionally brought us one step closer to a fascism.’ A child did a stupid thing, and should have been reprimanded.’ Nothing more, nothing less.’ It is a violation of the spirit of the Constitution to arrest and charge a child for placing a ham sandwich next to another student.’ It is an infringement on what it means to be an American if I have to fear being arrested for offending my neighbor.

Europe has already embraced its fascist history in recent years.’ The most startling example, aside from draconian Holocast Denial laws, is in the Netherlands.’ Students in an elementary school in Amsterdam were learning about farming.’ Muslim students refused to participate, citing their hatred of pigs.’ They reportedly became rowdy.’ School board officials had a meeting to discuss the matter, deciding to no longer teach about farms.’ They refused to teach farming because some students were acting badly while learning about what they considered to be offensive.’ When the wishes of the few infringe upon the rights of the many, you have a fascist state, by its very nature.

Flipping back to the Republicans, the GOP presidential hopeful and current frontrunner Rudolph Giuliani is recently quoted as saying that as president, he would have the right to detain citizens without trial and to find other funding for the war in Iraq should Congress cut it off.’ I think ol’ Rudy needs a lesson in the Constitution.’ The fact that a declared presidential candidate, currently the favorite to take the Republican nomination in 2008, could have such blatant disregard for what it means to be American scares me to death.’ What’s worse is the public outcry, or lack thereof.’ Nobody seems to care that President Giuliani would have such little regard for the Constitution, the document that all presidents must swear to uphold and protect.

I’m angry.’ I’m angry because you are not.’ I speak out because you do not.’ I end my tenure at Stony Brook University and at the Statesman with this message: citizens, stop hurting this country.’ Every time you vote for an official who breaks the law, it is akin to you breaking the law.’ Every time you restrict your own freedoms to avoid offending a minority, you inch this nation closer to fascism.’ I would like to tell you that we are a crossroads.’ We are not.’ Our democracy has been gradually eroding for many years now, and it has become painfully apparent.’ Restoring this country to its former glory will require many years of hard work and dedication.’ It starts with your hearts and your minds, and I am grateful to have done my part.’ To quote Winston Churchill, ‘Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” Readers, go forth and climb.

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