Saturday, October 28, 2006

A New Low

This article appeared in Slate magazine on Friday, October 27.

When the Justice Department Played Defense.

I defy anyone to find any legitimate justification for passing a law that defies not only the letter of the Constitution, but the spirit of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

They’re only coming for terrorists? Who gets to decide whether you’re a terrorist or not? What if they’re wrong? (Even the most well-intention will be wrong from time to time, and it’s a long, uphill fight to declare Shrub or Darth Cheney “well-intentioned.”)

Most of us know at least part of this poem. It was never more relevant in America than it is today.

When the Nazis came for the communists
I remained silent;
after all I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats
I remained silent;
after all I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists
I did not speak out;
after all I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Think it’s too harsh to describe our current state as resembling the Nazis? The Nazis didn’t look so bad to the Germans when they started out. Times were tough, and the nation was suffering from a paranoid impression of being assaulted from all sides. Someone had to be blamed. Eventually the scapegoats were everyone except those in power.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 makes me ashamed to represent myself as an American.

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