I just finished reading a transcript of former Vice President Albert Gore's speech delivered in Washington, D.C. at Constitution Hall today -- the day we honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Gore presented an assault on the Bush administration's expansion of executive powers -- the illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. He, & others of both parties, took a stand today decrying such practices. Gore's speech cited the surveillance of King as a prime example of this & supported it with past incidents of the expansion of executive power & its ramifications from Abraham Lincoln to the present. He omitted that FDR & Bill Clinton were also guilty of over-stepping their powers but, on the whole, he bolstered his arguments logically, credibly & eloquently as he addressed a crowd who gave him multiple standing ovations in Constitution Hall.
I'm going to preface my next statement by saying that I've never really been a fan of Al Gore, however if I had been there, I would never have sat down. Since the moment I heard/read of this abuse of power, I have been angry -- angry that my president has such a cavalier lack of respect for our country, its citizens & its Constitution. The Constitution guarantees us the right to privacy & I resent that the man who should support this most is ignoring that fine document. Gore cited John Adams on the aims of the Founding Fathers: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative & judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws & not of men."
As I sit here with my Thinking Cap on, I am appalled & disappointed in our president but, to be honest, not at all surprised. This country was founded by men of intelligence, vision, practicality & honor who wanted to build a nation that didn't repeat the abuses of the colonial government just as did many of our ancestors & citizens who came here to escape such abuse in their homelands. The Bush administration appears to have forgotten this basic tenet & the bottom line is that we must remind them that the Constitution of the United States must be upheld.
Al Gore is to be applauded for taking this stand as are those, like former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, who have joined with him to demand that the Bush administration rethink its policies. His speech today sent a "heads up" to all of us. I hope the citizens of this country are listening carefully & join Gore, Barr, & their friends in their stand to defend our Constitution. As demonstrated today, this is not about party politics -- this is about the Constitution of the United States of America. Let's give it the respect & hon0r it so richly deserves.