I truly thought I understood the concept/boast, as put forth by the Bush administration. Shock them with the sheer fierceness of the attack; Awe them with the magnitude of the resources brought to bear against them.

Little did I know that was only the misdirection part of the operation. They weren't referring to the Iraqis or Taliban. The true concept has only come to light in this week's East Oregonian reporting of the new Republican requirements to take part in our political process.

I'm referring to the requirement that people wishing to attend the campaign appearance of our vice president must submit their name, address, date of birth, and last, but far from least, social security number.

Truly we should be shocked at this infringement of one of our most basic civil rights; the right to participate in our political system without fear of intimidation, or recrimination. Truly we should be awed at the contempt with which the administration holds us, knowing that we will go along with this. What about finger prints, retinal scans, DNA samples, ad nauseam.

Please don't misunderstand. I am as concerned for the safety and well being of our vice president as any other right thinking citizen, and I certainly recognize that the times we live in have been forever changed by the events of Sept. 11. But this goes too far. This is an effort to make the political process more exclusionary, not more inclusive.

This administration has seen a golden opportunity in the guise of national tragedy/national security to erode our civil rights to an extent most of us have never seen in our lifetimes. (Perhaps the Japanese Americans who were interned during the World War II would find this disturbing trend quite recognizable).

We really must, as citizens, speak out and the best way in this circumstance, would be to boycott the Vice President's visit until such time as these infringements aren't found to be acceptable.

Shocked? Sadly I'm not. This is just the latest abuse of our liberties by the current administration. Awed? Truly I am. The conceit inherent in knowing that they would get away with this and more is truly awesome.

Frank Duff


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