Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Repeal The National Defense Authorization Act

I’ve been bashing Republicans lately, especially Newt, Mitt, and the Tea Party (sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland, doesn’t it?), but I want to make it clear that I haven’t done so because I’m a Democrat or knee-jerk liberal.

I’m doing it because they deserve it. And much more.

Actually, I feel my political views are fairly mild-mannered, middle-of-the-road, common-sense. Well, maybe Common Sense a la Thomas Paine (who published his incendiary pamphlet anonymously during the American Revolution). You know, when they had the real tea party, the one about freedom from mad King George (no, not Bush).

Paine’s conceit--and I mean this in the literary sense of using an extended metaphor with a complex governing logic--was to argue for freedom from British rule when the question of independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood.

That’s what I’m going for, too.

To me, it’s just common sense that in America nobody should be thrown into a dungeon indefinitely without a trial. Does “equal justice under the law” ring a bell?
I’m against terrorism as much as anybody, including governmental terrorism as represented by The National Defense Authorization Act.

As if the Patriot Act wasn’t enough, this defense spending legislation includes a provision authorizing indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without trial--and critics (like the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and me) worry could be used against U.S. citizens.

You should worry about it, too. It’s your freedom that’s at stake as well as mine. As John Hancock says to the other signers of the Declaration of Independence in the wonderful musical 1776, “If we don’t hang together, we’ll all surely hang separately.”

As an old Vietnam War protestor, I applaud those who demonstrated outside the federal courthouse downtown recently as part of a national day of action, including more than 50 sign-waving members of Occupy Louisville.
And they claim these people lack clear goals. Ha!

As construction-worker slash citizen Brice Powers was quoted in The Courier-Journal, the National Defense Authorization Act threatens due-process rights and our civil liberties under the guise of fighting terrorists.

(By the way, where would be without our newspapers? They, not political parties, are the life blood of democracy. Whatever my disappointments with our local daily--and they are legion--its news columns, and those of the other free press, still remain our best defense against government tyranny. No wonder Republicans are always attacking them!)

The National Defense Authorization Act should be repealed.

Our Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell was targeted by demonstrators for supporting the provision. No surprise there. Not much hope of getting anything passed, either. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. How long did it take for the Civil Rights Act to pass? How long before the GOP repeals it?

President Barack Obama--who is my guy in the White House and shame on Arizona frumps who presume to be publicly rude to him--may say he had “serious reservations” when signing it into law, but he did it anyway.

Not good. And how long will the president’s vow last that his administration would not authorize the indefinite military detention of American citizens?
And what about the next administration?

Demonstrators say this law wouldn’t be dangerous, if you could trust our government--but everyone knows you can’t. Even when your guy is president, he doesn’t have total sway.

We’re supposed to have a nation of laws, not of men--but not unjust laws. The demonstrators hope they sparked more of us to the cause of repealing the offending sections of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Sign me up.

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