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Dear Honorable Members of Congress: Reflect on Your Responsibility and Rise with Commitment and Eloquence
David Kessler

I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the threats to our rights and indeed to our laws posed by the Bush Administration's conduct and proposals. These threats come in more forms than I can enumerate, but they include the failure to accord prisoners their constitutional rights, the invasion of our privacy in libraries, and the harassment of individuals of Middle Eastern descent, as well as the expansion and empowerment of secret agencies such as the FBI, a known manipulator of events and falsifier of evidence, representing a terrible threat to our liberty. We depend on free speech to make our country great. When Americans live in fear and hesitate to speak up, our fundamental character as a democracy is threatened.

You who are in Congress have a special responsibility, as your willingness to speak up and question emboldens the rest of the citizens to do the same. Conversely, when there is virtually no visible opposition to dreadful security measures including detention camps and secret trials, it chills public debate everywhere. Far beyond the memories we have of underground spying and repression in our own society lie examples of other countries, such as Germany in the 1930s or several Latin American countries more recently, where a line was crossed and almost unimaginable horrors were let loose upon the populations of those countries and indeed of the world. The capitulation of our elected representatives to a craven herd-like conformity in the face of similar threats to legal process could be a tragic step in the descent into a domestic repression undreamed of in our nation's history. I urge you to reflect on your responsibility and rise to the level of commitment and eloquence required by our dire circumstances.

A President who did not win election, but who reigns via judicial coup, should be the object of extraordinary scrutiny, not the beneficiary of extraordinary amounts of trust.

I especially urge you to exercise your constitutional duty to decide on issues of war and peace. We must not act like the "rogue" nation which we decry as the greatest threat to peace. There are far saner and cheaper (in both lives and money) ways to insure our security in respect to Iraq. A war fought to bolster the Administration's popularity and take control of oil reserves is a horrible blunder that will destabilize an enormous region and render us more hated than ever. Instead, we need to develop sensible policies that are based on justice and respect for other nations. Such a change in policy will alone provide security from terrorism and preserve the fabric of freedom in our own society.