Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Intellectual Honesty

Are American progressives going to prove themselves to be as intellectually dishonest as the current Republican party?

Beginning with the launch of the dishonest war in Iraq, through disclosures that the Bush administration was engaged in illegal AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL eavesdropping on phone conversations and down-loading of our emails, through the criminal holding of people without any charges, and without any access to anything that could reasonably considered due process, to the adoption of techniques that have always and everywhere been considered torture, we ranted and raved about how Bush, Cheney and others were guilty of war crimes, were abrogating everything we had always understood about judicial oversight, separation of powers and a presumption of innocence, and were threatening the very bedrock of our democracy. (yes I know this is an atrocious run-on sentence but I'm pissed so there you have it.)

So what now -- that the Obama administration has continued almost every one of these policies -- with the single exception of torture? Not only continued them -- but extended them?

Just a few short months after taking office, we saw that the new "Democratic" administration had no intention of rolling back the breathtaking power grab executed by the Cheney administration. Just a few months ago, we heard a mind-blowing new assertion: That the Executive Branch -- alone -- was asserting the power to declare an American citizen to be a "terrorist" and -- therefore -- a perfectly acceptable target of assassination. And now they have done so.

Can someone explain to me why the left isn't screaming? Is it because the man has a Muslim name? Do US citizens only have rights if they are Christian, white and don't have funny sounding names?

This is not to defend the behavior of this individual, who clearly appears to be supporting violence against the country of his birth. But so did Timothy McVeigh. So do many right-wing militia members in this country. Do we really believe it's ok for the President -- and the President alone -- to simply declare someone a terrorist and therefore outside the entire US judicial system?

Whatever other good he may do, Obama cannot be allowed to continue on the path of the Bush/Cheney administration in this regard. It doesn't matter that I like him, and it doesn't matter if I or you trust him to use this expanded power only in ways I or you may situationally agree with. We are either a country bound by its Constitution and by law or we are not. And as progressives, we are either intellectually honest enough to call out those we have supported when they do exactly the same things done by those we opposed (and now worse) or we are as ethically and intellectually bankrupt as the other side.

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