This is an ongoing series talking about how, for this Presidential election, I am a one-issue voter. I will be making my decision for President based on what the candidate believes about Executive Power and Civil Liberties. Read Part 1 and Part 2 for more. In this post, I outline specific ways the Executive is increasingly abusing its power. The hope is that this will show others how this should be a legitimate concern of all Americans.
Did you know . . .
The President, on New Year’s Eve, signed legislation making it absolutely legal for him, personally, to order you imprisoned indefinitely with no charges being filed against you and no lawyer being offered you. Be sure to read this Al-Jazeera article bemoaning the loss of American freedom because of this. (more here and, for a snarkier analysis, go here).
The Administration reserves the right to simply have any American citizen killed without a trial or any chance to offer evidence in their defense. Obama is the first known President to ever authorize this.
“Free people, remember this maxim: We may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.” –Jean-Jacques Rousseau
[UPDATE: Part 3, “specific abuses of Executive Power” is up]
Yesterday, I wrote a post about how I’ve become so burdened by the abuse of civil liberties by the Executive branch, that I have decided that this is a big enough of a deal–and the time is crucial enough–to warrant this being the one issue I use to determine who I’m voting for this Presidential election.
I knew I was brief yesterday, but wow. That post ended up causing a lot of emails, texts, comments and Facebook posts from people really cautious about what I had said, and had a lot of clarifying questions for me. Some issues will become clearer as I continue to write about this, but I wanted to address some crucial things up front.
First, some definition
As Wikipedia puts it: “Civil liberties are simply defined as individual legal and constitutional protections from entities more powerful than an individual, for example, parts of the government, other individuals, or corporations.” To put it another way, our “civil liberties” are what is clearly laid out in the Bill of Rights.
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty…is finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people” — George Washington
[UPDATE: Part 2, “some responses & clarifications” is now posted.]
[UPDATE II: Part 3, “specific abuses of Executive Power” is up]
America’s Founding Fathers consistently referred to our country as a “grand experiment”, and on this President’s Day–and good ol’ George’s birthday–I want to meditate on this for a little bit. What was (is?) so “experimental” about America?
There seems to be a repeated “life-cycle” to nearly every great power in the entire history of the world. In the beginning of most of these nations, the “power” and authority is more or less decentralized (perhaps in a localized, tribal, or feudal system–or in our case, States).
Over the course of time, though, this “power” becomes increasingly centralized: first, into one part of society (usually to the wealthy and their businesses), then it gathers into one part of the government, and then it continues onward until it is ultimately centralized in one person.