The role of the United States in the recent pattern of deposing leaders from foreign countries calls into question the political philosophy of the current administration. As a Republican, I feel I am placed in an uncomfortable position of having to disagree with the recent pattern of the Bush administration of removing leaders that "we" as a country believe should not be in power.
As the remaining superpower in the world, the United States is often turned to for correcting injustices that erupt around the globe. Being a part of a community that is a territory of the United States, I find it extremely discomforting to witness the flexing of U.S. muscle to play such an anti-democratic role in the removal of an elected official, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Unlike what has happened in Iraq, the removal of Aristide puts at question our basic beliefs of democracy and the electoral process. Unlike Saddam Hussein, Aristide was an elected official. True, his behaviors were inconsistent with those most would consider as acceptable; nevertheless, this individual was elected through a democratic process that the U.S. (Democrats and Republicans) helped put into place.
I am concerned with the direction of our policy of determining which leaders should be in power in countries other than our own. As Americans, no matter the political party, we all agree with and support democracy.
As an American, I support sending individuals back to Haiti when they illegally enter America or its territories; however, American policies for accepting foreigners have been inconsistent. While Haiti holds free elections, other places such as Cuba and China do not, and thus those who defect from Cuba and China are accepted as political dissidents, and those from Haiti are not. I don't agree with this policy. Haiti is in a state of political unrest; the policy is being applied unevenly.
For this reason, I cannot support the manner in which our president and our country have handled and participated in the removal of President Aristide. It was great that the United States once again came to a country in turmoil; however, the methodology was seriously flawed. Regardless of what was occurring in Haiti, Aristide was an elected official and as such should have been removed using practices associated with the democratic process.
It is frightening to think that if other foreign countries determine that President Bush is not performing to their standards, or our governor is not meeting the needs of the residents of the territory, someone should demand that they depart their offices by a certain time on a certain date.
I would also like to say that joining an organization, political party or a club can be both fun and exciting. Most of us join and participate in groups because we agree with their overall philosophy. Most individuals join organizations because they believe in a common cause and that the best way to accomplish and further that cause is through a focused group.
Participation symbolizes a sort of contract between the members and the organization that the collective agreement of what the group believes will be honored. At a higher level, most people believe in their countries and not always in their leaders. Even when we disagree with the policies of the elected leaders, in general we support them.
The great thing about America, and being an American, is that we have the right to disagree with the opinions and philosophies of others including our leaders. Although I am still a Bush supporter, I believe his current foreign policy of removing leaders — in particular, democratically elected leaders — is dangerous. And it is my hope that we as a country speak out and speak up whenever and wherever our basic democratic principles are at risk.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to email@example.com.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.