Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What President Obama Gets Wrong About Citizenship and Tyranny

What President Obama Gets Wrong About Citizenship and Tyranny

The framers included a Bill of Rights that forbade government from making certain laws, because they believed tyranny is always around the corner and must be zealously guarded against. The framers included unapologetically anti-democratic elements in the Constitution to prevent citizens from acting on passions of the moment because they wisely mistrusted the unfettered popular will. Obama believes, rightly or wrongly, that those anti-democratic provisions went too far (as does everyone who supports the direct election of senators and the popular vote).

Obama, John Brennan, Dick Cheney, John Yoo, and Michael Bloomberg all trust themselves with awesome authority, often imprudently. To mistrust them or even ourselves is not cynicism. It is prudence of a sort that community organizer Obama and Senator Obama championed.

The U.S. is a mature democracy that has survived many presidents who illegally abrogated civil liberties. Freedom and liberty have always prevailed over tyranny in the end. It is my hope and guess that the same will happen in my lifetime. But only because many worry about tyranny. Only because many agitate for operating within institutional constraints.

Our vigilance is justified by the fact that our leader, a former Constitutional law professor, believes that he is empowered to kill American citizens in secret without trial, charges, or due process on his order alone, in clear violation of the Fifth Amendment; that he is empowered to indefinitely detain American citizens; that he is empowered to secretly spy on millions of innocent Americans without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment; that he is empowered to launch wars in foreign countries without a Congressional declaration and in violation of the War Powers Resolution; and that it is good and proper to severely punish whistleblowers.