Sunday, November 05, 2006

20: Letter to Debbie Stabenow.


Dear Senator Stabenow,

I am writing you today, two days before the 2006 midterm elections hopefully return control of congress to the Democrats, to express how disappointed and upset I am that I am unable to vote for you this year.

In the last several weeks, I have closely followed congressional races around the country, and took my major votes for granted: Granholm, Stabenow, Sabaugh, and Williams. You have always seemed someone who captures the practical idealism of the Left in Michigan, the spirit of the New Deal Democrats, and the sense of urgency that the political debate has taken on in recent years.

I can't tell you then, how shocked I was to learn of your recent votes for the Military Commissions Act and for a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit the burning of the American Flag. Mind you, I am much more upset by the first vote than by the second. But I find these two votes particularly problematic in contrast to each other. In discussion of the Military Commissions Act, doubtless you heard what I read in transcripts, which is that military tribunals do not meet international standards of accountability, and that the "interrogation techniques" permitted under the measure are essentially the same techniques used by Stalin during the Great Purge of the U.S.S.R. during the 1930s. Those Purges, exposed by Khrushchev -- nobody's definition of a great humanitarian -- resulted in hundreds of innocents ultimately confessing to high treason. This is because it is a well-documented fact that sleep deprivation and water-boarding, while they may leave your body remarkably intact, have very consistent results when it comes to crawling inside your brain. Try staying awake for a week if you don't believe me. A human, as I'm sure you know, is a unique and delicate thing that must be fed, clothed, taught, and allowed to grow for generations. A flag on the other hand, symbolism notwithstanding, is made of ink and thread, can be made identical to most any other flag in the world with a modest expenditure of time and effort.

In short, I am horrified that you have chosen to protect our flag, but compromise the rights and dignity of the human beings it represents.

I hope that you beat Michael Bouchard on Tuesday. But I cannot accept the thought that you would have done so with the support of my vote.


Connor Coyne
Flushing Township, Michigan



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