Ten Reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free.
The Washington Post this morning has a sobering and courageous story: Ten Reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-united-states-still-the-land-of-the-free/2012/01/04/gIQAvcD1wP_print.html
"While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
"These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.
"The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company."
Here's a list of the issues discussed in the article:
Assassination of U.S. citizens
No right to a civilian trial
US officials have immunity from War Crimes prosecution
Secret courts with secret evidence
Immunity from Judicial review
Continuous monitoring of citizens
It was easy to blame Bush for introducing these new powers in the anti-terrorist mania after 9/11. What's inexcusable is the way that President Obama's administration has extended these powers. Change indeed. The first politician who really stands for restoring freedom would make me abandon Obama in a heartbeat. Give me a politician of any party who will make a serious commitment to restoring our nation's commitment to freedom, and he or she will have my vote.
The story ends with an appeal to our nation's storied history:
"The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: 'If men were angels, no government would be necessary.'"
"Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, 'Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?' His response was a bit chilling: 'A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.'”
"Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely."