Dear President Bush,
I appreciate your attempts to make this country a better place. No, let me rephrase that... appreciate is a strong word. How about "I recognize" your desire to make the United States a better place.
However, I would like to remind you that the United States was founded on the idea of freedom. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to decide what is morally best for each individual.
Our founding fathers understood that giving people freedom meant that some people were likely to say and do things that others would find morrally objectional, but they also understood that the unpopular opinion has the same rights to be expressed that the popular opinion does.
"Protection" is a dangerous word, President Bush. It is one of those words with a double edge. We all want to be protected in some ways. We want to know our families are safe from harm, we want to know that our money is safe in the bank. When a child has a horrible nightmare and runs to his parents for comfort, a child wants to feel safe and protected.
However, there is a dark side to "protection" and that is when "protection" starts to equal "I must inflict my moral beliefs upon you."
History is strewn with misdeeds done in the name of "protection." Those folks in the Spanish Iquisition were only trying to protect people from burning in hell by converting them en mass to Christianity.
Even the United States has done some pretty misguided things in the name of "protection." Remember the Vietnam war? Remember that we decided it would be better to allow a ruthless dictator to rule the country? Why? Because we wanted to protect those people from communism. I'm sure they appreciated our protection. Many people in the United States appreciated that this country sacrificed it's young men for the "protection" of the world against communism.
Facts are that when you found a country on the bases of freedom, you have to expect some people will make bad choices with this freedom. If it's to the point where they are endangering others, then yes, society has the right to lock them up. That's what prisions are for.
But other choices aren't so simple. How about the right to worship other Gods than the one written about in the bible? Well, it may stick in the craw of a few folks, but generally, the United States agrees to let people worship who they choose.
Now, how about love? Is that not a freedom? To love whom we chose to love? To be able to express that love by being able to make a public commitment to each other? We're not talking about harming anyone else, we're talking about love
There's a grittier side to freedom as well. You have to expect some people will decide that what they will do with their freedom is something most people won't do.
Like buy magazines that show sexually explicite material, simply for the purpose of getting a thrill. Or renting a movie that shows these same things. Or, yes, cruising the internet looking for pornography.
I think we're all in agreement that children should not be allowed access to pornography. However, does that mean that pornography itself should be made illegal? We have laws to protect children from pornography.
We also have parents, teachers, and caregivers who's job it is to protect children from harm. You celebrate the "family" one week, Mr. Bush, and the next you're taking away their job.
We in the United States do not need "protection." Especially when protection is just a thinly veiled curtain for "taking away freedom." What we need is to be able to keep our freedom.
Trust us, Mr. President. Trust the parents to raise their children. Trust the people to make their own choices, even if they don't go along with what you, personally believe. Yes, I understand, sometimes it may seem like there are a lot of people in the United States that think with less than five brain cells, but for the most part, we're not a completely retarded bunch. Most of us are good people who want only the best for our families, our friends, our children.
You may be the "leader" of this country, but remember, it's us, the people who put you there. You trusted us enough to vote for you, now it's time to trust us to make the right choices in other issues too. You're a leader, not a parent.
I don't need protection, President Bush, I need to retain my freedom. People don't need protection against pornography week, or marrage protection week, they need good jobs, good schools, good neighborhoods, and good health care. Those are the issues you should concern yourself, because if people have those things, the rest usually manages to fall into place.
Most people in the United States don't need protection, we just need to continue to use our common sense. We have it, leave us to use it.
No, I'm not talking about that type of "protection" Take your minds out of the gutters!