Connecticut Independents should vote for Chris Murphy
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 21:10
A week from tomorrow, Connecticut voters will go to the polls to choose their next US Senator. The Democratic candidate is US Representative Chris Murphy and the Republican candidate is former wrestling executive Linda McMahon. I strongly urge my fellow students to cast their votes for Chris Murphy.
As the Congressman representing my home district, Murphy has consistently proven himself to be an independent thinker who puts the best interests of the common people ahead of the whims of his party’s leadership. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for McMahon.
Chris Murphy has been a consistent critic of the U.S. Patriot Act, one of the most egregious violations of civil liberties in U.S. history. The most odious aspects of this law include three provisions granting the U.S. government the power to monitor individuals using roving wiretaps, the power to monitor individuals’ library and business records and the power to track individuals that have not been previously identified as terrorist suspects.
Though the Patriot Act is well intentioned, it is easy to see its potential for abuse, given the federal government’s history of targeting those who hold dissenting opinions. For instance, in the years before America entered World War II, president Franklin Roosevelt often erroneously equated criticism of his foreign policy with collaboration with the Nazis.
Allow me to cite just one example. In February 1941, Roosevelt ordered the FBI to investigate the America First Committee, a noninterventionist group. Even after both the FBI and the Roosevelt’s Administration’s own secret intelligence unit determined that Robert E. Wood, the chairman of America First, “had no use for the Nazis or their doctrines, and would not tolerate any dealings with them if he knew of such dealings,” FDR demanded a grand jury investigation of America First. FDR’s paranoid attitude should make clear the danger of the PATRIOT Act: it could lead to innocent people being wrongly identified as terrorists. After all, government officials are merely humans and humans are bound to make mistakes.
Congressman Murphy has a clear understanding of this danger. In May 2011, he voted against the reauthorization of the three aforementioned Patriot Act provisions, despite the fact that such Democratic Party leaders as president Obama and Senate majority leader Harry Reid were strongly in favor of reauthorization. In February 2011, he had voted in favor of reauthorization. But, even then, Murphy was morally opposed to the Patriot Act. As he stated at the time, “The Patriot Act does not strike the right balance between protecting this nation and protecting civil liberties. We in Congress should have found a way to fix this by now. This extension gives us one more shot to get it right, and if we don’t, I’m not going to vote for another one.” Since then, Murphy has kept his word.
Another example of Murphy’s principled independence from the leadership of his party is his support for a full audit of the Federal Reserve by the Government Accountability Office. In 2009, he voted for a bill that would have allowed for a full audit of the Fed for the first time in history. A bill mandating a full audit of the Fed next came up for a vote in July 2012 and Murphy again voted in favor of Fed transparency. This was despite House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to the bill. It should be noted that Chris Murphy’s support for auditing the Fed shatters Linda McMahon’s claim that Murphy is “Wall Street’s lapdog.” Despite claims that the Fed is an independent agency, it is deeply linked to the tycoons of Wall Street. One of the Fed’s main functions is to bail out banks that make bad decisions, thus passing their losses on to middle class taxpayers. By advocating Fed transparency, Murphy has proven himself to be a true friend of the middle class.
Linda McMahon claims to be an independent thinker, but this is hardly the case. Behind closed doors, Linda McMahon vowed to “sunset” Social Security. Now, she claims she has a plan to “save” Social Security, but refuses to reveal its details for fear of losing votes. Additionally, she opposes cuts in military spending. Given these facts, it is hard to argue that she will not be a rubber stamp for the leadership of the Republican Party.
If you want a genuinely independent U.S. Senator, Chris Murphy is your only option.