by Niranjan Ramakrishnan
"When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up. They didn't. Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to regimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorist suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidentially, we haven't.In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrant-less search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people even seem to notice. . . .The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest. Stop for a second and try to fathom that. At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you're wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.This! In the United States of America."
Recall that we live an era of amnesty (and of amnesia). An administration lies us into war, opens our mail, spies on us without warrant, and then resorts to calling critics of its actions traitors. Congress responds to this garrotting of the statute in letter and spirit by proposing to change the law -- we are ever-so-user-friendly -- retrospectively!
Is it not also logical, then, to extend the same formula to illegal immigration, and grant amnesty to those who broke into the country? A political class that is simultaneously effete and venal cares little about the long term effects of such compromises. It answers to a higher power than the Constitution -- to paraphrase Michael Chertoff's words on the Port Deal, business must go on, and the state has no greater duty than to protect the free flow of commerce.
Niranjan Ramakrishnan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog is at http://njn-blogogram.blogspot.com.