Having neglected my favorite columnist and favorite podcast as of late, it was easy to forget. As I said in my post about almost voting for Romney, I let the Conventions sort-of sweep me up. I swore I’d never give in, but oh those sirens were such smooth-talking mistresses.
First, as I mentioned last week, the big shift for me towards Obama was Clinton’s speech at the National Convention. I thought it was amazing. But, this speech ended up being not as factually accurate as it sounded. And (speaking of how it sounded) as Dan Carlin said (as I was finally catching up with his podcast), this speech was only our generation’s introduction to the kind of politician Clinton’s always been. This was simply vintage Clinton, and I admit, I developed a little man-crush.
The other thing that started pulling me towards Obama was Facebook. Or rather, the posts of Republicans on my Facebook feed. It was an instructional time that reminded me of my twelfth grade English class where we did a whole project on finding and identifying common logical fallacies. (My next sentence in this post was going to be a list of the fallacies that I saw; except, when I found the afore-linked “logical fallacy” list I realized I could find examples of nearly every single fallacy in the posts. It’s telling that if I were to bring this up with one of my Republican friends, their response of late tends not to be defensiveness, but rather saying “well they do it too!”).
And so, at this point in my journey, I felt like I could put up with a poor Democrat President if only to humble and shut up the rabid Republicans out there.
But then I found out that my favorite columnist, Glenn Greenwald (mentioned above), had recently moved to The Guardian‘s new American branch, and I stumbled on this article. And then I remembered what I had forgotten:
From the piece:
In 2008, candidate Obama hailed whistleblowing as “acts of courage and patriotism”, which “should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration”.
President Obama, however, has waged the most aggressive and vindictive assault on whistleblowers of any president in American history, as even political magazines generally supportive of him have recognized and condemned. One might think that, as the party’s faithful gather to celebrate the greatness of this leader, this fact would be a minor problem, a source of some tension between Obama and his hardest-core supporters, perhaps even some embarrassment. One would be wrong.
Far from shying away from this record of persecuting whistleblowers, the Obama campaign is proudly boasting of it.
The piece goes on to show the hypocrisy of the Obama administration where they have vehemently gone after journalists and individuals that have leaked embarrassing things about the administration, but they themselves have freely engaged in leaking far more sensitive and classified material whenever it makes the administration look good (I’ve discussed before how Christians might think through this sort of stuff).
I wrote a series of articles several months ago about how, in this national election, at least, I am a one-issue voter. And that issue pertains to civil liberties and the powers of the Executive Branch. Honestly, no matter who you vote for, four years from now, the social, economic, and legislative realities in this country will not be very different than if you had voted for the other guy. Why? Because there is an always-cantankerous legislative branch throwing wrenches into whatever agenda whichever President brings in to office.
So what realistically can and will change four years from now? The Powers that the Executive claims for itself, in spite of Congressional or Judicial oversight. These are things that will look radically different four years from now, because the ones making these rules have no one to answer to but themselves. This is an area where no checks and balances exist. It is an area that Obama has claimed is beyond the purview of Congress, the Courts, and the Media (mainly by claiming that to have this discussion in the first place would require mentioning “state secrets” that would supposedly “harm national security”).
Do you all not know that Obama signed an act that gives him, personally, the authority to imprison anyone (including American citizens) indefinitely without a warrant or defending this decision to a court or Congress, as long as it’s someone found on “the battlefield”? Oh, and then the act defines the “battlefield” as “the entire world”, including America.
Do you all not know that this President personally called for–and followed through with–the targeted killing of three American citizens (that we know of), including one of these men’s Denver-raised 16-year old son?
Do you all not know that he personally makes the call about who to place on a national “Kill List” whom the military will then hunt down and kill, even if they could take them alive as prisoners?
Look, I’ve catalogued and cited a lot more of these sorts of things right here (although even since then, so much more has happened that has only furthered these concerns). And they’re only a Google search away. I’m not being conspiratorial here. These three things (and the other items cited in the linked article) are well-known and established facts, not whispers and rumors. (For those interested, I ended up writing a fiction story for 9/11 based on where I feel like these things will take us.)
And so I refuse to give any endorsement to the individual who is personally and intentionally responsible for having brought this state of affairs about, no matter their policies on anything else.
So for those of you that will vote for Obama and actually know of these things he’s done: you may justify this vote however you want, and it may help you sleep at night, but know that nothing will change as long as you continue voting for these people; know that no matter what good things you think the next four years may hold in an Obama re-election, the long-term negative effects will echo for generations ahead; and know that whatever powers Obama claims for himself now (and that you let him have) will also be reserved for whatever inevitable future Republican President you fear most.
Update: a friend on Facebook brought to my attention the fact that, last week, District Court Judge Katherine Forrest (an Obama appointee, ironically) found the very “indefinite detention” clause I reference above illegal and a wrong interpretation and expansion of the powers granted to the Executive in the original Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by Congress on 2001 in the wake of 9/11. She blocked its implementation in any battlefield as it goes through appeal, and the Obama administration is having a fit. Is it wrong that I love watching it? Way to go Judicial branch! Maybe things do even out in the end, perhaps? Hopefully? One can pray, I guess.