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By Geoff Metcalf

December 13, 2005

�You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything��

Aaron Tippet and Buddy Brock wrote a song titled �You�ve Got To Stand for Something�. The warning to the lyric notes �or you�ll fall for anything.�

I often say, �It�s not a question of WHO is right or wrong but WHAT is right or wrong that matters.�

Different people have difference guidelines for determining what is �right�.

In this polarized/acrimonious/perpetual contact sport between left and right, liberal and conservative, democrat and republican, (demonstrated by Ann Coulters and Al Frankens), so much emphasis is put on sizzle, we rarely get to sink our teeth into the steak.

It was disconcerting to read Doug Thompson�s recent rant in Capitol Hill Blue in which he claims President Bush diminished and marginalized the Constitution. Thompson reportedly talked to three people who were in a meeting in which the President of the United States called the Constitution just �a goddamned piece of paper.�

No, Mr. President, blasphemy notwithstanding, the Constitution is much more. The constitution is the essence of what America is, and for many, a yardstick for measuring what is right.

From military recruits to congress critters to Supreme Court justices to the President of the United States, all take an oath in which they solemnly swear to �uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."

It is beyond hypocritical for someone to swear, �to preserve and protect the constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic� and subsequently focuses on undermining, mitigating, or abrogating the very document to which they have sworn protection�in effect becoming a domestic enemy.

Debate continues if those so engaged are guilty of fraud, perjury or treason.

Since 9/11 there has been a lot of �talk� about patriotism. It has been implied that to resist what the administration wants to do is �unpatriotic�. What was it Mark Twain said about �Patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel.�? I don�t think/hope Twain meant everyone who embraces patriotism is a scoundrel but it becomes a challenge to differentiate between true patriots and politicians intent on using it as a tool to further a personal (unconstitutional) agenda.

By the way, any effort to undermine the Constitution from beneath a mantel of �patriotism� is oxymoronic.

Teddy Roosevelt said, "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

I admire President Bush for a variety of reasons�however; I am not a GOP sycophant who will defend the indefensible because of a myopic �us verses them� group think.

According to �Capitol Hill Blue� when confronted with facts that contradicted his preconceived opinions, Bush said, �I�m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.�

When an aide (as reported by Thompson) said, �Mr. President, there is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.� Bush blew up and screamed, �Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it�s just a goddamned piece of paper!�

No, Mr. President we won�t stop throwing the Constitution in your face. You put your hand on a Bible and swore to defend that �piece of paper�.

The reason famous conservatives like Phyllis Schafly and Bob Barr have joined with the American Civil Liberties Union to oppose overly ambitious plans for renewing the USA Patriot Act is THEY stand for something�and won�t fall for anything dictated by an imperious �Do it MY way� leader.

The USA Patriot Act is a sticky wicket and smarter folks than me are tasked with solving the challenges.

  • Is the Patriot Act a valuable tool for intel operators fighting the war on terror?
    * You damnbetcha!
  • Is it potentially dangerous?
    * Absolutely!
  • Does it represent a significant threat to God given, inalienable Constitutional rights?
    * Duh?!?
  • Ben Franklin said, �They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.�
    * The Patriot Act personifies that admonition.

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The signers of the Declaration of Independence closed the document by affirming, �with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.�

The Declaration, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are more, much more than mere �piece(s) of paper.�

� 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's

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The Declaration, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are more, much more than mere �piece(s) of paper.�