This article was originally published on January 29th, 2007 at americanchronicle.com
Sometimes we can find the most appropriate words in the least likely places. The other night I was watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Toward the end of the movie the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, says, “There are dark times ahead. Soon we will all have to chose between what is right and what is easy.” When I heard these words I thought they were appropriate for these times.
While there may or may not be dark times ahead, there are always times when we will all have to chose between what is right and what is easy. Looking back on our recent history, it seems to me we have been making the decisions to do what was easy and at the same time deceiving ourselves that we were doing what was right. Why is this so? Well, perhaps sometimes it’s hard to do what’s right. Like electricity, humans seem to want to follow the path of least resistance.
It is easy to live our lives as if nothing is wrong. It is easy to believe we are safe in our warm homes. It is easy to sit on our couches and watch “Survivor” or “American Idol”. It is easy to believe the propaganda that they put on the screen every night and in print every day and not question it. And it is easy to believe that it is right to let those in charge just do what they will and not the will of the people, to not assert yourself. It’s easy to just let someone else take the actions necessary to safeguard your freedom. It is easy to foist your responsibility on someone else. It's hard to admit that something is wrong. It's hard to get up and take action yourself. It's hard to stand up and be counted. It's hard to write an article like this.
It’s easy for the House of Representatives to say that impeachment is off the table, that they are going to try to work in a bipartisan manner. It’s easy for them to say there’s nothing they can do about the war in Iraq, that it is the president’s decision and his responsibility. It’s easy to do nothing about the illegal laws that have been recently passed that in essence shred the constitution, laws like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. It’s easy to just let them ride and continue to abuse the rights of those people whose lives have been destroyed by these laws. It’s easy to say, “Oh, they’re just terrorists. They deserve no rights.” It’s especially easy because they will never get a public trial, they will never have the chance to present their defense to an unbiased jury or, in fact, to any jury. Chances are the public will never even hear about any trial unless they pay attention to the back pages of the paper or the obscure sites on the Internet. It’s easy to say these laws are necessary to protect us, that we should trade our liberties for a measure of security.
It’s hard to do what’s right. It’s right to charge the criminal with the crime and bring him up on charges. It’s right to seek justice, even if some toes have to be stepped on. It’s right to try to save the lives of American soldiers by demanding they come home now. It’s right to stop funding the war if that’s what it takes. It’s right to strip the power from a lying president after he’s proven his ineptitude. It’s right to stand up for the rights of the individual. It’s right to demand a man be charged and brought to trial or set free, regardless of what religion he professes or what country he calls home. It’s right to demand that unjust, un-American laws be repealed. It’s right that someone stand up and point out that it is our ideals that are worthy of protection, not so much our bodies, and that many have already given their lives so that these ideals can continue to flourish in the United States of America. It is right to point out that he who trades liberty for security will have neither.
It’s hard to do what’s right. It’s especially hard for the lazy. Perhaps the Democrats are lazy. Perhaps they’re deaf and can’t hear the multitude of voices screaming for them to do what they were hired to do. Or perhaps there’s some other reason they refuse to do what’s right.