Grappling with Obama's Un-Liberal Actions: A Voter's Conscience (Part 2):
So perhaps you are pro-Obama and you've come to terms with the drone war being waged in nations we are not at, you know, war with. You figure that it's a distant thing, and, yes, any Americans targeted in, say, Yemen deserved what they got. You know, you want everyone to know that you may be a liberal, but you're not a pussy. But what about your own rights? You're supposedly not a terrorist. And your neighbors are more than likely not.
We have to wrestle with this shit, we who say we're voting for the President. We have to have an answer or at least an understanding. And you have to be willing to accept the consequences of those actions.
In this case, a vote for President Obama means a vote for indefinite detention for Americans who are suspected of having any link to al-Qaeda. In this case a vote for President Obama means a vote to expand the surveillance of all communications of Americans, inside and outside the United States. All of these powers do or would exist without judicial oversight (other than kangaroo military tribunals).
The indefinite detention section of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress in 2011, says that the U.S. can hold a suspect "without trial, until the end of the hostilities." It was met with a mighty signing statement by President Obama where he pledged to never use his superpower for evil and that no Americans would be treated like filthy foreigners (except, you know, for the whole blowing them up with missiles overseas). But a group of activists and writers sued the administration over indefinite military detention, saying it was unconstitutional, and a judge agreed, putting a preliminary injunction on it.
Considering the signing statement, you'd think, "Well, guess that's game over." But you know how sometimes you're drunk and someone tries to stop you from taking that next shot for your own good? How many times do you say, "You know what? You're right. I should stop"? No, you say, "Fuck you, asshole, gimme the shot. I'm not nearly drunk enough. I haven't puked on myself yet." Now replace liquor with power and you pretty much know what happened.
The Obama administration, just a couple of weeks ago, appealed the ruling, saying that, since it's never happened, it doesn't need to be halted. It's not unlike a company selling a toy for toddlers that's made of razors and nails and refusing to recall it until a child gets hurt.
Where else do you want to go? You want to talk how the administration refuses to say how extensive its surveillance program of Americans is? You wanna head over to Gitmo (remember Gitmo? It got lost somewhere along the way once Republicans blocked any funding to close it)? You wanna talk about how the military is now limiting the detainees' access to their lawyers? You wanna come back home and talk about the brutalizing of any whistleblowers?
You can't ignore this shit. You just look like a fool if you do. Again, this is not just an extension of the very things we took to the streets to protest George W. Bush for, it's an expansion. And it's fucking scary shit. Because instead of reducing the power of the imperial president, an idea he criticized while running, Obama has embraced it. And, no matter how much you trust him, Obama ain't gonna be there some day and all these powers and laws will be.
Coming up in Part 3: Well, what the fuck are you gonna do?