When Political Fear Trumps The Tenets Of Our Constitution
Harry Reid was born (1939) and raised in Searchlight, which is a small mining town in Clark County, Nevada, roughly 58 miles southwest of Las Vegas, which also is a part of Clark County. Reid’s home town, where the gold mines have been dormant since the 1950’s, had a population of 576 according to the 2000 Census. Overall, Nevada had a population estimated at 1,998,257 in 2000, and Clark County with 68.85% of the total state population, concentrated around Las Vegas, had 1,375,765 residents.
In the 2000 Census the total population of the United States was calculated as 281,421,906 residents. Using these figures, Democrat Harry Reid shares with his Senate colleague Republican John Ensign, a constituency that comprises .007% of the total population of the country, and 68.85% of those constituents live in the greater Las Vegas area. In January of 2009 the Nevada secretary of state reports there were 542,902 registered Democrats (44% of the state electorate), 438,747 registered Republicans (36% of the state electorate) and 252,916 registered Independents or other (20% of the state electorate).
Reid has held elective office since 1967, as a member of the state Assembly from 1967-1971, serving as Lieutenant Governor of Nevada from 1971-1975, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission (a non-elective position appointed by the governor) from 1977-1981, Member of Congress from 1983-1987; United States Senator 1987-present. Reid assumed office as the Majority Leader of the United States Senate in January of 2007.
All of this history clearly establishes that Harry Reid has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional politician, Reid has established himself as being astute and well versed in the “rules of the political game” and used his knowledge and talent to achieve the most powerful position in the United States Senate. Reid’s history will also explain why he has, up to this point, acted as a “road block” to the will of the majority of the people in the United States, including the president of the United States, in our desire to close the Guantanamo detention facility and place the remaining detainees in the prison system on American soil. Harry Reid has behaved as if he were a pawn of the fear mongering former Vice President Cheney with the twisted logic he demonstrated this past Tuesday when confronted by reporters during a press conference:
We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States…
We don’t want them around the United States…
I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.
[Reporter’s question: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.]
Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.
[Reporter’s question: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? …]
I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.
Does any rational, thinking person believe that closing down the Guantanamo detention facility means that any of those prisoners held there would simply be turned loose, allowed to roam free in the United States? Of course not! When the Guantanamo detention facility is finally shut down, all of those detainees previously held there, will already have been transferred, in a secure manner, to another, appropriately secure prison facility in the United States. Does anyone think that the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, the entire military establishment, the Justice department, the U.S. Marshall’s Service and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons are stupid?
Besides the draft dodging Dick Cheney, who was part of an administration that totally dropped the ball and allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur, and subsequently has been scared shitless, Harry Reid believes that a significant segment of the electorate in Nevada, can make or break any future Senate campaign that Harry would mount, and Harry is scared shitless about that. Reid believes that a segment of the electorate, across the board, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents are apparently stupid, clueless, and scared beyond their wits of those “terrorist devils”. Reid is particularly sensitive to the 20% of the Nevada electorate who are registered as Independents or Others, that 20% can make or break any Senate race that Reid would enter and he is pandering to a group of voters that in his assessment may be close to the paranoid fringe, not so he can serve the people, but so he can further his political career.
Harry Reid is allowing .0014% of the United States population (Nevada represents .007% of the U.S. population, and Independent voters in Nevada represent less than one fifth of that population) to sway how he is leading the United States Senate in responding to the issue of the Guantanamo detention facility and the detainees currently held there, bowing to the fear spread by the previous, negligent administration, and the paranoia of the last remaining, vociferous remnant of a negligent and arguably criminal administration.
Dick Cheney is spinning his tales of national security and terror in fear for his own, cowardly corpus, afraid that when the entire truth is revealed, he could find himself in detention. Harry Reid is acquiesing to what he perceives as the power of Cheney and a very small minority segment of the population in order to insure his tenure in office, more interested in his political career, than he is interested in making the difficult, but honorable and pragmatic decision to begin the process of shutting down a symbol of justice gone awry, a symbol of an incompetent, politically driven American government making decisions based upon fear and ignorance, which have delayed justice and which have destroyed America’s standing as a leader among nations in the pursuit of liberty, freedom and justice.
Harry Reid has had a long run in his political career, achieved higher office than most people would dream about, as Majority Leader of the Senate is bringing home an annual salary of $193,400 plus benefits, and is fully vested in the federal employee retirement plan. If Reid were to retire this year, he could draw as much as 80% of his Senate salary, for life. Senator Reid has an opportunity now to stand up, like an honorable, courageous leader, and rather than giving in to his fear of losing office, demonstrate the character and fortitude to stand up to the ignorant fear mogers, regardless of the potential impact on his political career. It would be far better for Senator Reid to risk ending his political career today, if it is captive to the paranoid fringe, and stand up like a true patriot and support President Obama’s efforts to shut down the Guantanamo detention center and place the detainees in other, appropriate, secure locations, within the continental United States. Stop being an impediment to a process that will lead to ultimate justice and resolution of the problems created by a previous, criminal administration, which captured and held captive people who have become pawns in a political game. Let the current, honest administration do what they have pledged to do, and begin to turn the corner on a nightmare that was largely based upon self-fulfilling delusions.
Even if it means returning to your roots in Searchlight, leave behind the fear Senator Reid, and you will lose our loathing.