In my original posting on this topic, I listed the following three points:
1. Illegally authorized and supported a warrantless wiretap program, and when caught had the audacity to claim he had been given the authority by Congress, and then claimed the Constitution gave him the right, anyway. Anytime you use the Constitution to justify violating the Constitution, you’re way off on the wrong track.
2. Supporting and promoting the Patriot Act. One of the most invasive, unnecessary, and unjustifiable pieces of legislation ever written.
3. Using the threat of “terrorism” as a tool to turn neighbors against each other, prevent activism against his agendas, and cow the population and its representatives into accepting more and more outrageous assaults on their liberties in the name of an indefinable sense of “safety”.
I will show here how all three of these have undermined the unity of our society, eroded our civil liberties, and laid the groundwork for a greater departure from the ideals of democracy than we have ever seen before. It is not my place here to propose counter-measures and alternatives to these problems, but I do want to state that I feel strongly that listing the problems is only constructive if action follows. It is my dearest hope that these debates can prompt their readers into responsible action designed to take back control of their government and affect a change in the direction of its growth.
That said, I will plunge on in…
As the should-have-been scandal of the administrations illegal wiretapping policy wanes, as our government proceeds to contract out the construction of new, large-scale detention centers (apparently in preparation for a large influx of immigrants…?), as the right of whistle-blowers or dissenters in the administration (and elsewhere) to criticize our government is called into perilous legal question…I find myself more and more concerned with questions of where national (and personal) security ends and personal liberty begins. It seems that this is a question which should be uppermost in the minds of all Americans, as we tread into an age where the potential for extreme government monitoring and control is more technically possible, and apparently more desired, than ever before. And yet I find in casual conversation that very few citizens are concerning themselves with this vital issue. The attitude that the government will make the decisions which will best care for us is pervasive, and the notion that it is every citizen’s obligation to monitor and influence the government is outdated, perhaps treasonous. From it’s inception, however, our nation has been founded on the assumption that informed and active involvement in our government is every citizen’s obligation. The founding documents of our government worked hard to indicate that this was a government designed to be created and maintained by the people. It was not to become a monster controlling and directing the lives of its citizens for its own benefit. Hence the electoral process. Hence the “checks and balances” that we heard so much about in school. Hence the Bill of Rights. We hear much these days about the possibility of things being “unconstitutional”, but does anyone even remember the Constitution?
In the name of trying to revive interest in a crumbling concept, I would like to explain very simply what our government was meant to be and discuss the arguments which the current administration uses to justify its departure from those original ideals. I would like to bring to the notice of the public that this is, as Abraham Lincoln so famously said in 1863, a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, and that such a system depends upon the involvement of those who allow themselves to be governed, if it is not to perish from the earth.