I've been gathering my thoughts on this issue for the past week. I'm sure everyone has heard about the Military Commissions Act of 2006 . If you haven't, it may be because of the ruckus over Mark Foley. The press seems to be paying a lot more attention to that scandal than the usurpation of the right of habeas corpus. People, it is time to wake up! Between this law and the two Patriot Acts (calling them "Patriot" is like having jumbo shrimp), the government has gutted the Constitution and a lot of people in this country think it's a great thing.
Some people have said that the law only applies to non-citizens while others claim that it can be applied to citizens because of the use of "unlawful enemy combatant" doesn't exclude citizens. But it does define "alien" as a non-U.S. citizen. And in a later paragraph refers to "alien unlawful enemy combatants". I'll leave the analysis to the lawyers. Either way it is truly frightening to me that we are willing to do away with one of the oldest cornerstones of a free society. The right of habeas corpus has been recognized as a necessary right in free society since the 11th century. If the government can imprison you without trial or even telling you why you are imprisoned, how can you be free? And for those who say they aren't worried because this only applies to non-citizens, this administration has attempted several times to have wording added to bills to allow for the stripping of citizenship from a person accused of "terrorist activity." How many times has President Bush said "You're either with us or against us"? So what happens when dissent becomes a "terrorist activity"?
For years, the government has overstepped the powers granted to it by the Constitution (more on this later). Since 9/11/01, our rights have been under a full scale assault. For a while after 9/11, there was a lot of talk about "if we do/don't X, we let the terrorists win." Like "If we can't travel freely, we let the terrorists win" or "If we don't shop for Christmas presents, we let the terrorists win." Well folks, by letting the government violate our inalienable rights in the name of security, we are letting the terrorists win. President Bush has often said that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, so I guess the plan is to do away with that freedom so they don't hate us anymore.
I mentioned more on powers granted in the Constitution in the last paragraph, so here it is. I often hear people say something like "The Constitution grants me the freedom of speech/religion/etc." No it doesn't. You have that right inherently and it is inalienable. The Constitution doesn't grant rights to the people, it grants priveledges to and puts restrictions on the government. It's purpose is to protect our rights from the government. The laws that are being passed are unconstitutional, and the lawmakers know they are. But they don't care. Their ultimate goal is power and the only way for them to get power is by violating our rights.
Elections are a few weeks away. Both major parties have proven they don't care about our rights. Don't vote for them. Vote for a candidate that believes in freedom. Find Libertarian or independent candidates. If there isn't one, write one in. In the TN Gov and Senate race, there is the option of David "None of the Above" Gatchell . A lot of people view this as "wasting" my vote, but if I don't vote in what I believe in, then I am truly wasting it. I'm tired of choosing the lesser of two evils.