Alaskans don't need Outside groups telling them how to think

Posted: Monday, May 02, 2005

There may be some folks around the peninsula who might agree with Texas representative Tom DeLay. But it took an out of state based organization, "Focus on the Family Action," of Colorado Springs, Colo., to place a huge ad in Wednesday's Clarion attacking Sen. Lisa Murkowski for supporting the filibuster in the Senate, urges us to call her offices to complain, and then goes on to attack sitting judges for recent decisions, all in the name of the president's mainstream American values.

The ad is ominous in that first of all it attacks the Senate filibuster, one of the checks in our system of government. The filibuster is a time-honored tradition in our Congress, and even though it slows down the process of making laws, it also slows down the right wing train that wants to run us over. Checks and balances are what makes our form of democracy the greatest in the world. If our Congress is to be a rubber stamp for the president, then we may as well have a dictatorship.

The ad is also critical of recent judicial decisions. There are those in America and in Congress who think the judges should be subject to recall at the whim of public opinion, i.e. the Congress. Justices are appointed to the bench by the executive branch upon approval of the Congress for life, which is why it is so important to deliberate carefully in their confirmation.

Our founding fathers framed the Constitution to provide for the rule of law in this country. Laws are interpreted by the judges with respect to their constitutionality and precedents set by previous judicial decisions, and not necessarily according to public opinion. In order for precedents to be overturned, evidence must be presented. The Constitution protects us from the whims of public opinion. The framers knew of the possible "tyranny of the majority."

Are the president's values actually those of mainstream America? A majority of us didn't vote for the president. Voters are a small percentage of Americans. Is it fair to say that the almost 60 million who voted for Mr. Bush are a majority of Americans? Our population is nearly 300 million. Clearly Mr. Bush does not represent mainstream America. And neither does Focus on the Family Action. This is a right wing extremist group that wants to control every aspect of our lives and conform us all to their view of the perfect world.

I can't afford to place a big ad in the Clarion, so this letter will have to do. In the meantime, I urge everyone to call Lisa Murkowski and congratulate her for supporting the filibuster and show that not all Republicans are radical extremists. Let us show Focus on the Family Action we won't be influenced by an Outside group and that we Alaskans can think for ourselves.

Steve Bates, Kasilof

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