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Fear-based thinking doesn’t solve problems

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I find Mr. Backus’ letter, Journal, April 1, a sterling example of irrational rantings based on the lies and innuendo perpetuated by the extreme right, even with the authoritative reference to Latin. Let me put the current administration’s actions in the context of the past eight years. Under the Bush administration we saw an unrelenting assault on the Constitution, including abandonment of the rights of habeus corpus and limitations on due process (4th — 8th Amendments), wiretapping of U.S. citizens’ phones (4th Amendment), stifling of freedom of speech and dissent by charging unpatriotism and treason (1st Amendment), surveillance of peaceful assemblies (1st Amendment) and secretive administration activities promoted by Vice President Dick Cheney, which are now being revealed through an array of investigations. Bush administration attacks on freedoms did not stop with the Constitution, but included rejection of the Geneva Conventions, our sacred commitment shared among nations to preserve basic rights of prisoners of war. President Obama is now in the process of reversing most if not all of those Bush actions which undermined our liberties. The same fear tactics the prior administration used in undermining liberties is now being fostered by the far right through vapid accusations about the Obama administration. Terms that cultivate fear and apprehension, like “socialist” or “fascist” or “communist” or “tyranny” are flung about in a thoughtless mantra to cloud the real concerns that we face as a nation, such as poverty and hunger, homelessness and job losses, racial inequality and injustice. As long as people are consumed by their fears, their attention is directed to myths and irrational fabrications, rather than the things we must address as a society. We must ask one another to put aside our groundless fears and engage in a national conversation to perfect our Union. PF Watson Colfax