Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sheep Being Led to the Constitutional Slaughter

Sheep Being Led to the Constitutional Slaughter

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
By A BuzzFlash Reader

Last week was the 300th birthday of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who many Republicans and Democrats would agree was a national treasure. Among Franklin’s many important contributions were his adages. One particular adage always stood out to me as the definitive spirit of the United States:

“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority

Given the current political climate of government secrecy and civil liberties being traded for assumed protection from a foreign threat, one might for a moment consider the citizenry, as opposed to the government ruling it. In this most polarized of nations, the American citizenry may be clearly categorized by its response to Bush’s wiretap scandal: there are those who question Bush’s authority to override an existing provision of FISA, and those who give Bush the benefit of the doubt that he is doing so for the nation’s benefit.

Those who question Bush’s authority have handily found that he was acting above the law when he did not attempt to get warrants within 72 hours of wiretapping various persons or groups. Those who do not question Bush’s authority have either said that they do not care if he was above the law, or else justified his actions with a generic provision of Congress’s handing him the authority to protect the US after 9/11.

In addition to listening to our phone calls, the Bush Administration is now seeking to seize search engine records from Google in order to fight child pornography. The threats (or excuses, depending on your point of view) as summarized are terrorism and child pornography, and the vigilant actions (or civil liberty seizures, depending on your point of view) are the government listing to your phone calls and watching where you surf on the web.

Those who use the Congress provision justification must now face the reality that many of those whom Bush was wiretapping were peace activists and not national security threats at all, unless you count being opposed to Bush’s policies as a national security threat. This would seem to be insurmountable were it not for the recent release or Osama Bin Laden’s latest musings.

Since this event late last week, there has been a steady drive by such mainstream media personalities as Chris Matthews, Charles Krauthammer, Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Kellyanne Conway and Tucker Carlson to draw parallels between those who vocally oppose Bush’s policies and Bin Laden (effectively labeling those who oppose Bush as “Bin Laden lovers”). Also noteworthy was when “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert posed an odd question for Senator Barack Obama on Sunday when he asked him to express his opinion about Harry Belafonte (who stated that Bush was the “greatest terrorist in the world”). It was as though Russert was seeking to collect Obama’s endorsement of Belafonte’s statement in order to make the Democrats culpable for Belafonte’s bold assertion.

It could be reasonably argued that those who are attempting to exercise their right to question authority are meeting with substantial resistance by those in the mainstream media. It could also be reasonably argued that those who are questioning authority have much to fear in the way of government reprisal due to the wiretapping of many non-terrorist Bush critics. Those who are clearly streamlined in the current dialogue are those who do not question authority. They escape scrutiny by the press, and do not fear their private lives being scrutinized and penalized by the government.

There has always been a word for those who do not question authority: sheep. It is my assertion that those who do not question and aid the secrecy of Bush’s motivations have willingly made us all sheep being led to the Constitutional slaughter that we are all knowingly and unknowingly experiencing right now.

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

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