Thursday, May 10, 2007

American dilemma

It's hard to be a liberal these days.

Crack open my flower child heart and you'd see that corny old 70's commercial, people of all nations holding hands and singing. "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company."

The problem is, some of the lovely folk in that circle are now wearing bomb belts and want the rest of us dead.

It is horrifying that my government is detaining and torturing people at Guantanamo and, worse, in secret facilities around the world, denying them any semblance of due process. But ... do I really want those people released, to go about their business unimpeded? I can't honestly say that I do.

Any true American should be willing to put his own body between his neighbor and a lynch mob. But ... should we be expected to silently and passively board a plane with neighbors who are muttering curses against America and behaving in ways consistent with membership in the potential-bomber club? I don't think so.

In today's news, we find that the six imams who were removed from a United Airways flight last year are now trying to sue the passengers who reported them as suspicious. From the imams' point of view, they were being discriminated against because of their religion. This is probably true. We would not have responded in the same way to the same behavior from another religious group. But then, we don't generally find, say, Buddhists chanting Death to America every night on TV.

Should the imams have been removed, given what the passengers saw? Yes. Should they have been reboarded when found to be harmless? Yes. Should they have the right to sue, if their civil rights were violated? Absolutely. Should they win the suit against the passengers? Hell no.

The threat to our freedoms and civil liberties is very real. But so is the threat to our lives. As I said, it's hard to be a liberal these days.

No comments: