I don’t generally comment directly on current national issues in this blog, but the present situation is one where every voice is needed. Either the secret surveillance state gets rolled back, or we resign ourselves to a regime in which top officials act without accountability and it’s a crime to report wrongdoing.
Bradley Manning is on trial for exposing war crimes by the US. Obama has already declared him guilty. In making that advance pronouncement, he said, “We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate.” Yet Obama claims exactly that power for himself.
Edward Snowden is an international fugitive. Politicians have talked about bringing treason charges against him. Ralph Peters of Fox News wants Snowden and Manning killed. The investigation of reporters and the politically oriented audits by the IRS have been almost forgotten with the current blow-up, but they’re part of the same pattern.
It’s necessary for people who disagree on a lot to come together to stop a government that has gotten the furthest out of hand since the Japanese-American internments of World War II. Loyalty to your political party won’t give you any guidance; both Republicans and Democrats are split on this. This is a battle between those who want unlimited, unaccounted, centralized power and those who think that a government should be open, accountable, and subject to some sort of limits.
Even loyalty to Obama won’t let you avoid deciding for yourself. Are you loyal to the 2008 Obama, who promised a “new era of openness,” or the current Obama, who tells us that Ignorance Is Strength? This isn’t an issue of party against party, but of principles against power.
Find some way to speak out. I’d always been reluctant to register with whitehouse.gov to sign petitions, but I did in order to add my name to the petition to pardon Snowden. If the government has access to all my communications anyway, registering there can’t make things any worse; at most it lets them know about one of my spamtrap addresses.
It’s time to turn back from the lunacy that lets the government bully us in the name of protecting us. Let’s make it happen.