With the exception of a quick jab, I don't usually write about things as serious as the president. Heck, last week's column was about how creepy Punky Brewster was. (Mom, it was a JOKE). But every so often, something happens that is so ridiculous I can't let it pass by without throwing my two cents in (See Hilton, Paris).
Earlier this week, George W. Bush admitted to authorizing the phone tapping of suspected terrorists who also happened to be American citizens. You probably know this if you own a radio, a TV, or a newspaper. People are talking about it, too. I found out because I had my neighbor's phone tapped and he mentioned it while discussing plans to overthrow the government.
I'm kidding, of course. And I need to say that so men in suits don't show up at my door and steal me.
"Why are you arresting me?"
"You've been implicated in terrorist activity. And we don't like what you wrote about Punky Brewster."
The basic facts are thus: wire tapping without a warrant is illegal, no matter what office you hold. Bush admitted to knowledge of wire tapping without a warrant. Bush also said the tapping was okay because he asked for approval first. That was right before I fell out of my chair laughing. And that was right before I checked the weather in Canada.
Damn, still cold. I guess I'll stick around.
Look, I am fiercely patriotic, but one of my favorite parts about America is that we're allowed to say what we want. Even if it does implicate Punky's father in a molestation scandal. And right now I need to say this George W. Bush needs to be stopped.
I am not criticizing republicans. I am not criticizing you. I am criticizing a man who thinks breaking the law is okay simply because he asked permission.
Ever speed? Try this: "Officer, I know I was doing 80 in a 35. But congress said it was okay."
Republicans, if you're reading this (and judging from my hatemail, you are), you have to find this tapping incident as wrong as I do. Defend the war, the economic policies, the anti-gay marriage bills, the handling of the hurricanes. But do NOT defend this. Being a republican now should be like being a Warriors fan the week after Latrell Sprewell choked PJ Carlesimo. I have no problem with you blindly supporting the uniform, but sometimes you have to throw your hands up, ditch your star player and rebuild.
Not following me? Well, follow this. Bush said that what he did was okay because of the war we're fighting. You know, the one with Iraqistan. His basic reasoning was that if we want to win this war, we have to monitor suspected terrorists, even if we didn't suspect them of terrorism when we granted them citizenship. You know what a suspected terrorist is? Someone who the government THINKS might be a terrorist. Why would the government not know for sure if this person was a terrorist? Because there's no proof if there was, they wouldn't be suspected. Americans are being monitored because someone in a government agency decided that these people may or may not be involved in terrorist activity. And some of them may be. But some of them may just be regular Americans.
The common defense I've heard is that if you haven't done anything wrong, then a wiretap shouldn't worry you. Except for that pesky privacy thing. I don't do anything the government would get upset about, but I don't want them knowing everything I say. I like my privacy. And if you're still not with me, how about this: imagine the government barging in on you while you're going to the bathroom. Unless you have a herpetic outbreak, you have nothing to worry about, right? Except for that pesky privacy thing.
Lets say we catch all of the terrorists, and stamp out terrorism forever. Yay, bravo, amazing, bully for us. That would be a huge step towards world peace but at the expense of our privacy. Is that worth it? You decide.
Go ahead I'm listening.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of the Student Body Shots books, which are available at SteveHofstetter.com and bookstores everywhere. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.