No surprises here, but I don't easy fall into a ready-made political designation. Oftentimes, my views seem completely foreign to "mainstream" folks or at least the level of my concern baffles them. I've given a lot of thought to why that is recently. How can I explain to folks why its important to be concerned about the growth of executive power (no matter what party may currently occupy it)and the protection of constitutional freedoms? Well I saw a story that might help me.
Perusing Digg.com I happened upon this headline: "Confirmed: Obama Authorizes Assassination of U.S. Citizen" You can read the story at the link if you're so inclined.
I balked at this headline. Even for me, this had to be sheer sensationalism. No way was the headline to be taken literally. Wrong.
To give you the cliffnotes version of the article, there's a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen. Obama officials have confirmed the administration wants to put the hit on this guy. No arrest, no indictment, no trial, no firefight necessary. Just put a slug in his head while he sleeps if you can.
Now, if you want to argue the administration can do whatever they want with anybody that's not an American citizen, I wouldn't fault you. I personally believe the good guys should act like good guys, but constitutionally speaking, I can see how you can argue that. But this guy's an American citizen.
Think about that for a second. You know what the next step is right? I don't even have to say it do I? We had domestic terrorists first after all didn't we? Once this precedent is set, it will be used again, and it will be expanded. You can't put a genie like this back in the bottle easily. It doesn't matter what location and period of history you look at, you'll see this same pattern. History repeats because human nature is immutable.
So how did we get here? By not being vigilant, that's how. Take off the partisan glasses for a second. Even if you're a die-hard republican and are jubilant at having this new weapon to level at your hated Obama, we didn't get to this point just yesterday. Obama ran as the anti-bush: no more war, no more civil liberty incursions, no more executive unaccountability. Read some of his pre-campaign stuff, and I think its pretty hard to say he didn't mean it at the time. Likewise, Bush ran on a platform of a non-interventionist foreign policy initially. Opposite political affiliations, same progression towards executive hegemony.
As disappointed as I am, I'm not surprised, nor would I expect these guys to act otherwise. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, it is utterly FOOLISH to expect any individual, group, or entity to act in any way other than its own perceived self-interest. Such is the case with the past 10 presidents. However much they might believe in checks and balances before-hand, their agenda immediately becomes the expansion of the power of their new position. This will include the use of this new-found tool on those they see as threats.
As Gandalf said, "I would use this ring from a desire to do good... But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine." It is the grand nature of the position itself driving us down this well-tread path. Few of us have the capability to resist its seductions for long. Folks like Cincinnatus, Washington, and Eisenhower who were willing to advise against their own power are exceedingly rare.
So that's why we need to care about this stuff. Do you want your children to grow up in a nation where they can be marked for death by the executive on a blind accusation? So quit believing the lie that we only have 2 choices, a guy with a D or an R before their name. Because I don't see a whole lot of difference. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Doing what is right is more important than being on the winning campaign's team. Even if all elections were 100% rigged, the right thing to do is vote for the person you believe is right. If we don't vote and act in a way to restrict the power of the executive, we're willingly submitting ourselves and our progeny to tyranny. And shame be upon us if that's what continues.
Lent Week One
2 weeks ago