Hagan and Freedom

Hagan and  Freedom
June 13
00:00 2013

Some are suggesting that Sen. Kay Hagan is avoiding President Obama’s policies and staying clear of the man himself in advance of her 2014 re-election bid.
Polls show that Hagan could be vulnerable next year as she seeks a second term. After last year’s election, when Republicans took control of both chambers of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion, it is easy to understand why so many feel that Hagan is a political sitting duck.

Republicans and political observers alike say that Hagan is straddling the fence on Obamacare and other White House policies in order to boost her chances of re-election. Speculation about this purported campaign strategy reached fever pitch last week when Hagan was a no show in Charlotte as President Obama touched down to push a program to upgrade school technology. It is customary for U.S. Senators, especially those in the president’s party, to accompany him during local visits.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee – which has targeted Hagan’s seat for an upset – was quick to accuse the senator of ducking the president. Hagan’s camp has been questioned about her loyalties to the president in the past.

“She’s a strong moderate,” Hagan campaign manager Preston Elliott told Politico. “It’s really not a balancing act. It’s a matter of her doing what she needs to do for North Carolina.”

Ironically, it was Obama’s historic victory in 2008 that swept Hagan, a former state senator, into the halls of the Capitol. She wasn’t given a snowball’s chance of beating Republican Elizabeth Dole. She gladly latched onto Obama’s coattails back then and reaped the rewards as a result.

Politics are strange, and politicians are even stranger – that we get! What we can’t comprehend – and what voters of all political stripes are sick and tired of – is why the folks we elect seem to have a different mask to don for each occasion, each crowd and venue.

The stakes are far too high these days for our elected officials to go – as former State Rep. Larry Womble would say – “pussyfooting around” the issues. Some issues don’t allow for moderation. You are either for providing health care and other services for the least among us, or you are not; you are either for equality, or you are not; you are either for allowing undocumented workers a chance at the American Dream, or you are not.

We elected Hagan five years ago because we wanted change. We thought she was a maverick who stood her ground and let the political cards fall where they may. We hope that we were right.

Speaking of President Obama, he and his administration are in the hot seat because of what many consider federal over-reach in the name of national security.
Last week, a British newspaper reported that the National Security Agency collected American citizens’ cell phone information. That discovery came on the heels of a revelation that the Justice Department had monitored the computer and phone activity of several journalists.

Both incidents have caused outrage in a nation that shrouds itself in the Constitution. We take our rights as Americans seriously, and any infringement on those rights are viewed as a violation of everything we hold dear.

In reality, though, we all should reevaluate those rights in this combative, dangerous post-Sept. 11 world. We live in a time when hatred for Americans and the American way of life is so potent that people will do ANYTHING to kill us or alter our way of life. Can we really expect the feds to use pre-Sept. 11 methods after seeing the extremes terrorists will go to?

Giving up some of our freedoms in the Land of the Free is a hard pill to swallow. Many think that removing our shoes at airport checkpoints is sacrifice enough; unfortunately, that’s just a drop in the bucket.

We don’t like the government snooping around our internet and cell phone accounts, but we hate what happened on Sept. 11 even more.
We already know that fighting terrorism is a dirty job. Many Americans had no problem with water-boarding and other extreme U.S. methods used overseas. Now that it is time for us to man-up, we want to cite our civil liberties.

This is still the Land of the Free, but as the Civil Rights Movement taught us – Freedom is not Free.

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WS Chronicle

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