Saturday, October 28, 2006

Who Can Take Our Freedom?

The sad answer is only us.

Some of the hard-won freedoms that used to be taken for granted in this country include the following from the US constitution:

Amendment VI.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Amendment VIII.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Recently, the Military Commissions Act was signed into law. The practical effects of this law are to suspend amendments 5 and 8. While it is tempting to blame President Bush, or the Congress or the Senate or Osama Bin Laden for this, the sad fact of the matter is that we the people are to blame.

The fact of the matter is that, in a representative democracy, our representatives execute the will of the people. If the people disagree with how the representatives are doing their job, they are replaced in the next election. For the last 5 years, while divided, the people have basically been saying "you are doing what we want."

The really sad part about this is that, taking our freedom away is exactly the sort of goal that Al Qaeda would want, but it is also one of the things that they can never achieve. Blowing up buildings and killing people will not make us less free. It will not take away our freedom of speech, etc.

To take away our freedoms, we have to give them up. And that is exactly what we are doing.

Tags: Constitution, Military Commissions Act, Freedom, Habeas Corpus


Alex said...

When I raise my secret ninja army and become the grand imperious leader of the world, I will be able to take your freedom, too.

But, until that time, carry on.

Whatever said...

Ah, but you will face my army of cowboys...who will win?

Tyler said...

This is a very interesting post (and an interesting blog)! Thanks for sharing, I will definetly check back! Nice to see you active on blogexplosion as well...:-). Won't you return the favor?

Whatever said...

Thanks and welcome! You have a pretty interesting site too :-)

Canuckistani said...

a good piece that reminded us of where the blame actually lies. it will be interesting to see what the outcome of the upcoming elections will be and how the people will speak.

jaime said...

The many protections to our civil liberties were outlined and enshrined in the Bill of Rights. All except one. Habeas Corpus was the one civil liberty thought to be important enough to be placed into the Constitution itself. My $.02.

jaime the half-tonge said...

Forgot, here is the text:

"The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Even thought it is listed in the Limits on Congress it has been suspended twice, by Presidents Lincoln and Grant. In Lincoln's case it was overturned by the Federal Courts, but he ignored their order. Grant used it to help fight the Klu Klux Klan in South Carolina and was not challenged.

So, either suspend it, or respect it, but don't just pretend it is not there as the current administration has repeated done.