Below is a link to a letter to the editor found in my local newspaper, the Rutland Herald, by a Mrs. Lucy Nichol from Montpelier.  The title of the letter is: Obama Ends the Nightmare

It’s a short read, so I’ll quote it in full here:

[T]hese past eight years have been like some terrible nightmare. As an 87-year-old woman I never expected to see such gross violation of our privacy and civil rights and the justification of torture.

The people of the world cheered when they received the news of the change in administrations. Let the people know we believe in justice.

Please fill me in on what exactly qualifies as a nightmare because I fail to see how living in (still) the greatest country the world has ever seen (past, present, and future…at least until January 20, 2009???) has endured any kind of nightmare status over the last eight years.  There is one notable nightmarish exception: September 11, 2001.

Mrs. Nichol of Montpelier, VT claims to have witnessed a “gross violation of our privacy and civil rights” in addition to “justification of torture”.  How has this come to pass?  I realize that she is probably referring to the Patriot Act and that is something that is a topic about which I am not very well-read.  However, I have yet to see any government intrusion into my privacy that didn’t exist prior to the passage of the Patriot Act.  Has she?  Please tell us.

Perhaps she is talking about the much-maligned airport screenings that are routinely done on elderly women who have yet to ever pose a threat to the safety of airline travel.  I, for one, wouldn’t miss seeing elderly women being pulled aside at the airport screening gates as long as they are replaced by individuals who might actually be capable of executing some nefarious plot to hijack an airplane.  On the other hand, only being able to withdraw money from my savings account 6 times a month is rather inconvenient, but with a little bit of planning it is managable.

Which civil rights have been violated?  If she’s talking about the enemy combatants down in Guantanamo, then I must strenously object (Demi Moore in A Few Good Men).  They are called enemy combatants for a reason.  We’re at war with them!  Just because these men don’t look like regular soldiers in the emply of some sovreign nation doesn’t mean that they are free from detainment.  Our country is safer because they are there and our troops are safer in the field with those murderers locked up tight.  For anyone interested in the terms under which we are fighting this war, a good place to start would be Norman Podhoretz’s World War IV.

Why do we care what the people of the world think?  When Mrs. Nichol talks about the people of the world, I imagine that the people about whom she is referring are the newspaper and television editors that hold our capitalist country in the lowest regard no matter who is president.  Well, so what if the world cheered.  I am much more interested in what happens here then out there.  Our country is still the greatest country in the world, and there are probably many more people that would sacrifice a great deal to become a citizen of our country then there are people who hate us.  But I have no evidence for that theory, so take it for what it’s worth.

As for letting people know that we believe in justice…how did electing Barack Obama send that message?  Is it because he can artfully dodge any attempt to connect his ideology with unrepentent terrorists, America-hating preachers, or slimy real estate brokers?  Or maybe it’s his connections to the government subsidized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Maybe it’s because he is willing to admit he wants to take money away from people who have earned it and give it to those who have hardly lifted a finger to get any.  I don’t know what it is about Obama’s election that makes it clear to the world that we believe in justice, but I’m not sure that I am seeing the same thing as Mrs. Nichol.

Somewhat of an aside…Mrs. Nichol is quick to point out how old she is (see one of my recent posts about older women blogging).  Does being 87 give some one a moral authority that allows them to avoid spelling out the details of their position?  Or maybe it’s being 87 and being a woman.  I don’t know and I’m not intending to be rude (although I can be certain that some one out there would find my remarks offensive and smelling of agism, or something like it).  Being older certainly merits attention because the reality is that octagenarians have had a lot more years of living than I have and those years of experience are something with which I can’t argue and for which I have the greatest respect.  That being said, telling us that the last 8 years have been a nightmare without really giving any concrete examples and seemingly hiding behind your age doesn’t carry a whole lot of water in the realm of thoughtful discussions.

I feel like I’m waging a campaign against 80-year-old women and their political positions.  Again, I mean no disrespect.