Legislation crafted by our own representatives in Congress, eagerly signed by the President, allows for anyone to be held in a prison with no formal charge, no review by any court, only the whim of the president determines your fate.
How long before I too will be considered a threat for asking questions about the legality of these acts, for having doubts, for expressing them out loud, for not thinking in accordance with despotic demands?
It is slightly encouraging to note some Americans, other than wacky folks such as myself, see the critical dangers in what has happened. And they see the "national yawn" as a threat too. Jonathon Turley, Constitutional Law professor at George Washington University spoke with Keith Olberman about this -
"And it's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn't rely on their good motivations.
Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.
It couldn't be more significant. And the strange thing is, we've become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, 'Dancing with the Stars.' I mean, it's otherworldly."
"Well, this is going to go down in history as one of our greatest self-inflicted wounds. And I think you can feel the judgment of history. It won't be kind to President Bush.
But frankly, I don't think that it will be kind to the rest of us. I think that history will ask, Where were you? What did you do when this thing was signed into law? There were people that protested the Japanese concentration camps, there were people that protested these other acts. But we are strangely silent in this national yawn as our rights evaporate."Senator Russ Feingold was one of the few who spoke to prevent this measure -
At times of great adversity, the strength of a nation's convictions is tested and its true character revealed. If we sacrifice or qualify our principles in the face of the tremendous challenge we face from terrorists who want to destroy America, we will be making a terrible mistake. If we cloak cruel or degrading interrogations done in the name of American safety with euphemisms like 'alternative techniques,' if we create arbitrary dates for when differing degrees of morality will apply, we will have betrayed our principles and ourselves.
Outside the U.S., this overwhelming reversal of Freedom and Liberty is likewise taking place, and fortunately, questions are being raised -
"There will be many reasonable people among you who will argue that the fight against terrorism or some other compelling problem makes the removal of a fragment of liberty the best option available to us. A little bit here, a little bit there doesn't really matter, particularly when it involves somebody else's rights. Without thinking very deeply, we say to ourselves "if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear from these new laws". Not true. There is something to fear - because someone else's liberty is also your liberty. When it's removed from them, it's taken from you even though you may not be able to conceive of the circumstances when you might need it."
Today, I can freely express my grave concerns. As for tomorrow .....