Using Bees To Effect Vengeance
Monday, December 19, 2005
The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure
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.
You don't get to ignore the Constitution just because there's a "threat". Congress can't authorize you to do it. You can't do it on your own authority, or because in your opinion the end justifies the means. You can't do it. It's unconstitutional. It's illegal. It's grounds for impeachment.
What distinguishes democracies from un-free states is the idea that no man is above the law. Bush has arrogated to himself the power to ignore the United States Constitution -- the document he swore to uphold. He has placed himself above the law. As a result, I am unable to identify what distinguishes us from these unfree states. Like those countries, many of whom we've deigned to show the way towards freedom, we now have to fight to make ourselves free again. Our elected representatives need to hold the Administration's feet to the fire on this, and we in turn need to hold theirs.
I am dissatisfied with the Democratic response to this issue. The fact that Bush already had a substantively equivalent wiretapping option in FISA, while galling, is neither here nor there -- the point is that he knowingly ignored the Constitution. Period. The fact that they "informed" 8 Congressmen who were not allowed to mention the information to their staffs or lawyers is, similarly, beside the point -- Congress cannot authorize unconstitutional actions either. (It was however a very shrewd move that allowed the Administration to drag Congress into the cesspool with them while still avoiding any actual accountability or oversight -- Rockefeller etc. were implicated by virtue of being informed, and thus omerta came into play).
I feel the same way as I did during Iran-Contra, when the Congress explicitly rejected aid to the Contras, and the Reagan administration proceeded to aid the Contras anyway. It erases the concept of checks and balances between governmental branches, and expresses contempt for the rule of law. If it is allowed to stand, it mocks our entire system of government -- anything less than an immediate, profoundly outraged response implcitly condones the behavior and raises the risks for us all.
The irony of this coup being perpetrated by the standard-bearer for the spread of American-style democracy throughout the unfree world is too bitter for me to digest this evening.
The American Civil Liberties Union has fought for the preservation of American civil liberties -- speech, religion, privacy -- since 1920, and they continue that fight today.
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