What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: IMPEACH
CNN has a story about José Padilla’s conviction in court today. Padilla was labeled an “enemy combatant” by President Bush and detained by the military—without charges, a laywer, or any item of due process once guaranteed to all American citizens by Habeas Corpus.
The jury today found Mr. Padilla guilty of conspiracy to support Islamic terrorism overseas. The CNN article, however, describes an interesting twist in the jury’s decision:
“…neither were jurors told that Padilla was held in a Navy brig for 3Â½ years without charges before his indictment in the Miami case.”
Hmmm, so let’s see. The government assumes supreme authority (once reserved only for dictatorships of any flavor) to deny fundamental liberties (the bedrock of any Republican government) to a citizen it deems an “enemy combatant”, and then neglects to inform the jury about this crucial piece of information. Must have slipped their mind, right?
That’s right: our government can lock you up and throw away the key whenever our Supreme Executive labels you with those two words. They’ve done this to Padilla for several years. Who’s next?
One thing must be emphasized for all lovers of liberty: the powers now being assumed by (not delegated to) the executive branch of our government are those powers that dictators and despots of old have always grabbed for as they prepared to unleash their carnage and tyranny both at home and abroad.
Our Republic has crumbled into a democratic tyranny of the majority—a body politic greatly feared by our Founding Fathers. For it is in the tyranny of the majority that the rule of law and individual liberty is cast aside, all too often in the name of so-called security.
So yes, poor Padilla. Despite any crime he may have committed, he was and is still entitled those those freedoms vouchsafed in the founding documents of this great nation.