Thursday, February 07, 2013
A Republic if you can keep it. A Liberal’s Conundrum—The Fourth Amendment in the Age of Terror
The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
What could be more sacred in extremis to a liberal than the Fourth Amendment? Answer: Nothing – usually. If anyone told me forty years ago that I would be in debate with myself over our most valued civil libertarian guarantee I would have thought them ... well … nuts.
The very foundation of this nation’s oft touted superiority to other nations of less democratic inclinations lies embedded in the Fourth Amendment. It is a near sacred text brilliant in its conception so much so other nations emulate it. There is no more evidence of our Founders genius than their construct of the Fourth Amendment, an insurance policy to a democratic republic that mandates no one is above the law. No dictator, no potentate, no tyrant and, yes, even no democratic leader can think himself superior to its edict.
Recently, though, it has come under a challenge that heretofore would have been thought ridiculous to contemplate. The president is alleged to have bent the long arc of justice not toward justice but away from it. There is incredulity of a commander-in-chief who was a Constitutional Law professor in a prestigious academic institution to possess a so called “kill list.” Yes, Barack Obama, has, in this age of terror, in Star Trek fashion, allegedly gone where no man has gone before. The president has ordered drone killings abroad on his orders even to American citizens without evidence, without warrant and without those things mandated by the crystal clear Fourth Amendment.
He has been given a permission slip by his Office of Legal Counsel that drone strikes are legal even at home if he and others under his tutelage deem someone an existential threat to the republic. Not only can individuals be targeted by the president simply issuing the order but others who are seen merely walking or being in that person’s vicinity perhaps on the wrong side of sidewalk near the offender can be killed. This is unprecedented.
As I am writing this I cannot believe that this is by liberals debated AND YET it is debated by me. Glenn Greenwald, civil libertarian lawyer supreme, has been writing against this policy for months and indicting the Obama administration as being worse than the administration of George Bush.
Glenn Greenwald says: "… due process is guaranteed in the Constitution and judicial review of government accusations has been a staple of western justice since the Magna Carta"
But the people at the time of the Magna Carta, as pure as their motives may have been, did NOT face a world of nuclear dirty bombs or worse the total annihilation of western civilization.
I am a liberal and a staunch Democrat. Why do I not care if the president is going after treasonous vipers who have said, by their own words that they are in a holy war against the west and will stop at nothing, even if it takes generations to do so, to destroy the United States and all of its western allies?
Glenn Greenwald, when you are dying from leukemia because a dirty bomb exploded within the area you happen to be, then tell me how much you care about the Fourth Amendment for those terrorists who would, if they could, commit this dastardly act. The thought of living under a religious fascist state, ANY religious fascist state is to me more repugnant than the suspension of the Fourth Amendment for the cause of defeating our most virulent foes who would if they could eradicate us all. Yes, I address you my friends, you my relatives, ALL of you who read my opinions, nothing one could say or nothing one could do would change the mind of an Anwar al-Alawaki or the minions he represents and the Obama administration has targeted them for elimination.
Until I see otherwise, until I see the president and his underlings who enforce his decree are in error, I continue to say IF ANYONE, ANYONE at all says they support the religious fascism that is an Al Qaeda world then I do NOT care what the president must do to stop them.
Moreover, I do NOT feel the least bit frightened, or the least bit constrained and you, Glenn Greenwald, by the very fact that you are writing the strong opposition to the president you do have the freedom to do it. No one that I know of is targeting you for observation or elimination. BUT if you said you would be willing to work for a world according to Al Qaeda -- one in which people are put to death or severely hurt for the MOST trivial reasons – the beautiful child Malala who merely wanted girls to be educated was severely shot being an example – then I say the president MUST do everything in his power to STOP that from happening. If YOU, Glenn Greenwald, an admitted homosexual, were living in an Al Qaeda world you would NOT be living long.
Why the left allows these bestial acts done by extremists to go uncriticized, I have no idea. Rather it goes after those states in which people really do, for the most part live free! The left makes me question my own affiliation with it. I do not know where I fit but I do know that the west is infinitely superior to any religious fundamentalist state.
One must open one's eyes and deal with political realities not idealistic fantasy. This is NOT a game and this is not the same world that our Founders knew. As much as we want it to be probably, since 9/11, it never will be again!
As stated by David W. Johnson – writing for Salem Newsnet:
“225 years ago, as an aged Benjamin Franklin departed from the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman in the street called out: "Well Doctor Franklin, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin replied back: "a republic if you can keep it”
Until it is proven otherwise, I believe that is just what the president is trying to do!