Thursday, August 17, 2006
Wiretaps, Patriots, and Presidents
The United States Constitution. The greatest piece of literature, ever. That is an extremely pro-American, perhaps biased, view. I believe it though. It is a great piece of writing. The English may have invented democracy, but the American experiment perfected it; and then wrote it down. The Constitution is the fundamental argument in any political discussion. The terms conservative and liberal spring from a person's view on the Constitution. The fight between Democrats and Republicans is in essence, a fight over the interpretation of the Constitution. Conservatives will look at the Constitution and say, this is exactly what its supposed to be. No interpretation, no allusions, no confusion. What they said in the Constitution is what they meant, nothing outside; and if it is meant to be changed then pass an amendment. Liberals say no. A liberal perspective will say that the Consitution is meant to be interpreted and adapted. There are pros and cons to each argument. I agree that the Constitution should be able to adapt, and be open to modern interpretation, but the danger there lies in mis-interpretation and abuse. The reason I bring this up, is because of the recent ruling in the wiretapping case. For those who don't know, after 9/11 the Bush Administration administered a program through the National Security Agency. The progam allowed for the wiretapping of phone conversations of suspected terrorists, without a court order. This is seperate from the infamous Patriot Act, which allows for the wiretapping of conversations for a limited number of days.
The problem here is that this is extremely illegal. Conservative or liberal, this is just downright unconstitutional. It slaps the Constituion in the face, and rubs dirt on it. My real problem? People on tv who are supposed to be conservatives, republicans, etc., are defending the program. Saying that it is perfectly constiutional, and that it is a biased attack by a liberal Carter-appointed judge. This is disgraceful. I would love a real Conservative (a person who actually believed in core Conservative beliefs that is) to come on and show these people how wrong they are. The essence of being a conservative, is to absolutely HATE this program. The essence of conservativism says that the government is supposed to stay out of our private business, and just serve its role as a protector. This is not a conservative program, nor is it a liberal program, it is a Bush program. It is another attempt by a militant, right-wing administration to strip us out of our liberties in the name of fear. Their explanation, as usual, is simply, "We have to fight the terrorists." This is a blatant stripping of the basic principle of free speech. There is no judge of who can and cannot be tapped, without a court order there is no need for any sort of proof of terrorist activity, and that allows the government free reign over us.
This program strips Americans of our right to free speech, and the shameful thing is that people are falling into the trap. It is sad to see Americans agree with programs like this, falling into every word that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez says. Agreeing with President Bush, that this measure is necessary to fight the terrorists. Than turning to blame democrats and liberals for helping terrrorists. These people follow their "conservative" captains blindly, not caring at all for what they are sacrificing on the way.
Let me be clear on what I am about to say. I am in no way saying the Bush Administration are Nazi's, I am not saying that they believe in Nazi policies, or that they have gone anywhere near as far as the Nazi's once did. However, it should be noted that national catastrophes, like the one on 9/11, often lead to quick abuses of power by a national government. The Nazi's used the burning of the Reichstag to seize emergency power of the government. Less than a year later they had stripped communists and Jews of all their rights, in order to protect the people. We all know how this story ends. Let us learn from that awful mistake. We all remember the gung-ho patriotism after 9/11. In hindsight, we may have been a little too loose with our liberties. Programs like this were approved in sweeping numbers after those attacks, and most recieved unanimous support in Congress. They also recieved unanimous support from the public. It is scary to think what can happen to our basic rights and liberties after events like that. The beauty of democracy is that the people control their own destiny. After 9/11, the American people handed that control over to the government monster. Thanks to people like this circuit judge, and the ACLU, we are starting to get some of that control back. Maybe next time, we will think twice before we hand it over so quickly.