Security and spying: Bush, Gonzales plea for power

Jen Steer

While speaking at Kansas State University, a few audience members apparently mistook our president for a movie critic.

“You’re a rancher … I was just wanting to get your opinion on ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ if you’ve seen it yet,” one audience member asked President Bush, according to The Washington Post of Jan. 24. I hope I’m not the only one who sees a flaw in that guy’s logic.

However, Bush was not there because he wanted to talk about the “gay cowboy” movie, he had more pressing issues to discuss. Over the last week, President Bush, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, has been pushing the idea of security to the American public.

The current matter at hand is that the National Security Agency is obtaining surveillance without a court issued warrant, explains The Christian Science Monitor of Jan. 6. The National Security Agency is intended to find the next big terrorist threat by searching through domestic Internet and telephone communications.

Bush and Gonzales have hit the road, using techniques typically saved for a presidential election. The constant appeals to the American public are just sad attempts to evoke fear in order to gain support for the National Security Agency.

As stated in the previously cited Washington Post, Gonzales made use of historical references like George Washington to persuade listeners that the eavesdropping program is a good way to go. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but last time I checked, George Washington has not been walking around saying that he approved of the use of surveillance cameras. And this is because of two main reasons. First, the first president of the United States is dead and second, there were no such thing as security cameras back then.

During Bush’s speeches, he took a slightly different approach. The president has even started appealing that he be granted a broad range of powers, which most political analysts don’t believe he can really achieve. Amid split public opinion on the eavesdropping controversy, the president wants to be able to bypass certain laws in the name of national security. Tuesday’s The Boston Globe states if Bush is granted an extension of presidential powers, the effects of this action will last long after Bush’s term is over.

This could set a dangerous precedent and allow future presidents to override a law whenever they disagreed with it. The extension of powers given to the White House has always been a touchy subject and today’s current political climate is not the place we should be debating such subjects. Instead we should bring up how Laura Bush’s approval rating is higher than her husband’s.

As Bush carries out the rest of his term in office, which can’t end soon enough, we cannot give in to his pleas to make the president’s powers stronger, and we need to remember the way our government was intended to be handled.

The students who protested Gonzales’s speech at the Georgetown University Law Center held banners with one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotations. This is probably my favorite quotation and fits with this column quite nicely. “Those who sacrifice essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” True that, Ben Franklin.

Jen Steer is a sophomore broadcast news major and assistant forum editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].