The political shoe is on the other foot now |

The political shoe is on the other foot now

My Side
Sue Gray
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Let me start out by saying I exercise and cherish my right to own guns, and you can count me among those who would protest loudly against the curtailing of that right by the federal government, should that actually occur. I agree with most of the letter writers in the opinion pages when they argue for protecting the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights in general. I understand their outrage, their fear, and their desire to warn fellow Americans of an impending threat to our constitutional rights and freedoms.

After all, not long ago I was doing the very same thing. You may remember me as the woman who went to Iraq, joined the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition, and wrote numerous letters against the war, as well as warning of the government’s threat to our rights and freedoms. I even went so far as to call for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney for their violation of our Constitution.

Now I’m a bit puzzled. Where were all of these zealous pro-Constitution patriots when our Bill of Rights was being violated by the Bush administration? Where were they when Bush was signing executive orders to violate our right of privacy? Where were they when the rights granted by Habeus Corpus were ripped from our rule of law? Where were they when President Bush violated Article One, Section Eight of the U.S. Constitution by going to war without a formal declaration by Congress? Where was the outrage, the fear, the suspicion of the federal government then?

A review of the archives of the Post Independent opinion pages from the Bush era answers that question. While I and other “liberals” were writing letters criticizing the administration’s overreaching executive power and the trashing of our rights and freedoms, “conservatives” were defending the president and labeling us; “America haters,” “traitors,” “the looney left,” “unpatriotic,” “ignorant” and a whole host of other slurs. I counted five separate letters telling people who were exercising their constitutional right to criticize the federal government, that they should just leave the country, preferably moving to a location in the Middle East where speech is not protected. Several offered to pay the way.

Some of the very people who are writing letters criticizing the government now, were the ones chastising and libeling me for doing the same under the Bush administration. So I’m confused. Should I label them hypocrites? Should I be calling into question their patriotism and motives? After all, Obama is the president of the United States, and a war president. As Commander in Chief of our troops, he demands and deserves our respect, right? That means anyone bashing Obama must be an America-hating traitor. Should I be telling them to shut-up or leave? Offering to buy them a one-way ticket to Mexico, where gun laws don’t exist?

The thing is, despite the terrible accusations and hateful names they called me in the past, I can’t reciprocate. You see, I still agree with the need for citizen vigilance to protect our rights and freedoms from an overreaching federal government. I don’t fully trust the Obama administration or approve of everything they’ve done, either. So now it seems we’re all on the same side. I think we always were, they just didn’t know it at the time.

Sue Gray is a Carbondale resident who believes in personal liberty, social justice, and civil responsibility.

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