I am a moderate progressive, life-long Democrat and supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am a retired IT consultant, musician, animal lover, environmentalist and human rights activist, with particular interest in the protection of civil liberties and constitutional rights and freedoms.
One of my deepest concerns is the loss of our constitutional rights and protections during the last decade. We have been told that 9/11 changed everything and that we would have to change to accommodate to this new reality, but:
Abandoning our democratic values in exchange for the delusion that we are safer is the greatest “win” the terrorists could have hoped for…. and we gave this to them out of fear.
When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution of the United States, they were writing this document from the worldview of immigrants who had fled their home country because of tyranny. Tyranny came to our founding fathers in many forms, but most often in the form of religious freedom and the enslavement of the “common” man (not nobility). This is why they made sure of two things:
- that the system of government they set up could be dynamic (change as needed), and
- that the rights of the minority could not be infringed by the will of the majority. That’s why we have a representative form of government. It prevents what we now call “mob rule” or “government by polls.”
The loss of the sanctity of the writ of habeas corpus (requiring a warrant for arrest, search and/or seizure of persons or property) is the most alarming, because it also involves the loss of due process, meaning that the government (thanks to the Patriot Act) can deem individuals to be enemy non-combatants, arrest them, detain them without arraignment or trial, torture them, and even refuse to give them access to an attorney until they have signed a confession written by the government.
When I was growing up, the Soviet Union and Red China were the “boogey-men” who committed these types of human rights atrocities. America was the country that protested this kind of treatment of individuals. Now we torture detainees. Now we are the “boogey-man.” I have not doubt that, in years to come, our behavior in reaction to terrorism will be deemed as a shameful time for Americans, much like our treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII.
Moreover, we have lost our moral high ground because of this. Between our inability to properly manage our economy and our growing national debt AND our loss of moral integrity with regard to human rights, we are no longer the “bright beacon” that we once were. That will change only when we fundamentally change how we live and govern ourselves. We need to remember what is truly important before we lose it altogether.
I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog. I look forward to reading your comments….