Since September 11, 2001, the government has found every way to make exceptions to our Fourth Amendment protections and claim legal right to search and seizure of our private property—all in the name of safety, of course. The punch line, “don’t let the terrorists win” may have framed many late-night jokes, but sadly, it seems they truly may be able to claim victory. The more we descend into totalitarianism, the more of a win we hand them. Remember, they despise our freedoms and want to destroy them and force us to live in fear. Isn’t that what will happen when we cease to rely on our Constitution?
The average, law-abiding American may not see the small yet consistent changes in our Bill of Rights protections, but we are the ones who need to pay attention to these attacks on our freedoms and stop them before government takes total control. At one point or another, the long arm of the government will reach into every American home and by then, it will be too late to change our path.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve last year, “accelerates” our descent into tyranny, in the words of Rep. Ron Paul. Americans can be detained indefinitely without trial if they are accused of “substantially supporting” “associated” terrorist forces. The language is deliberately vague and wide open for interpretation.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) explains further that, “…section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil. [It] essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.”
Obama included a signing statement with the Act that expressed “serious reservations” about the bill’s detention language. But, that was just smoke and mirrors. The President lied to Americans when he wrote that, or he at least (as we have come to expect) didn’t tell the whole story. It was Obama, not Congress, who requested that the bill remove an exception for American citizens.
And truly, it does not matter that Obama wrote, “My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens … Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.” This is now in black and white; Obama willingly signed it. What if this President—or the next, or the next—abuses these powers or even expands them? This kind of law is directly opposite of what the United States of America stands for. And this is how America dies, slowly, little by little, with signing statements and amendments and executive orders that the American people hardly notice and of course the media giants rarely report.
Americans cannot simply trust that those working for a terror organization and attempting to strike American interests are the only terrorists the government is seeking. The entire world has been designated a battlefield, and our constitutional rights are void should we be designated a terrorist. Is that you? The Department of Homeland Security funded a study, which hardly mentions Islam at all, and labels terrorists as including:
- Americans who are suspicious of centralized federal authority;
- Americans who believe their way of life is under attack;
- People opposed to abortion;
- Americans who are reverent of individual liberty
We are fighting a different kind of enemy, and we became well aware of that on September 11, 2001. However, that does not mean that we must give up our freedoms and we need to remain watchful that our government doesn’t take its eye off the real terrorists and begin labeling anyone who simply has a dissenting opinion, the enemy.
Of course we want to catch the radical Islamists and others who want to kill us. But, do we want the government to eliminate our Bill of Rights protections and have the full, unchecked authority to claim a citizen is a terrorist and not give them due process? And do we want them to have the full authority to assassinate us at will? Is this our new America?
It’s the same mentality that has lulled us into accepting humiliations at the airport; we want to be safe, we want to catch the bad guys. But in trying to stay one step ahead of them, we are actually just reacting to their actions and “fixing” problems after they have already occurred. And, our government, in wanting to seem like they are productive and effective, are making all of us the bad guys in the process.
Journalist Chris Hedges was one of the plaintiffs who originally brought suit against the constitutionality of the NDAA, resulting in Judge Forrest’s ruling. In an interview he said of the NDAA, “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing. It’s an extremely frightening step backwards for American democracy. And I think that for those of us who care about civil liberties, the right of dissent and freedom, we have to stand up.”
Why is Congress silent on this? We sent them to Washington to represent our interests and defend our rights under the Constitution. On their watch, we are experiencing the unraveling of hundreds of years of guaranteed and protected freedoms.
Tell them to govern by the Constitution and reject all attempts at destroying it, or we will kick them out of office and vote someone in who will. Fax them now and demand they support S. 2175 and H.R. 5936, which will repeal the mandatory military detention requirement and ban indefinite detention and military commissions from the United States.
Involved citizens like you who keep up with what is really going on in Washington are the last line of defense against tyranny. It is not okay for our government to lock up American citizens without charges or due process.
Congressman Ron Paul says, “The Bill of Rights…is a key check on government power against any person.”
Are we willing to let that check be eliminated?