Vote The Bastards Out
This is going to be a recurring theme on these pages as we approach Election Day on November 7th--Vote The Bastards Out. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is hardly the most catastrophic bill passed by Congress the past few years. Why, just yesterday President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which in some circles has been called the "Torture and Detention Bill". Because that's the power the Congress just handed to the President--the right to detain people indefinitely, without the right to a trial or to even hear the charges brought against them, simply by declaring them an "enemy combatant". And what is an enemy combatant? Anyone the President SAYS is an enemy combatant. Ever read the book Catch-22
One would think that the elimination of these most basic rights would raise some eyebrows, or that the conferring of dictatorial powers on the President might be of some concern. Apparently not. As Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said
"People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system. The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly...people clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."
So it isn't like the government has some specific grudge against poker players. They have a grudge against freedom, liberty, the rights of the individual, and personal responsibility. Instead of an active, vibrant democracy, they want us to cede more and more power to a tiny cabal who will take care of us, who will make all decisions for us, and who know what's good (and bad) for us far better than we know ourselves.
There was never any real danger that a terrorist organization could defeat the United States. The attacks on 9/11 were horrific, but they never threatened to bring the country to its knees. Even a worst-case scenario (like a nuclear device going off in a major city) wouldn't destroy America. The only way America could be destroyed by terrorism is if we decide to destroy it ourselves. If we allow cowardice, laziness, and venality to triumph over the courage, ingenuity and hope that has long defined our nation, then America will cease to be. Not with a bang, as the saying goes, but with a whimper.
The Military Commissions Act (and, to a far lesser extent, the UIGEA) show how swiftly the government is moving in this direction. The Constitution stood up to British imperialism and was strong enough to withstand Nazi fascism and Soviet communism--why does everyone think it's so feeble today? Why is it that in fighting a ruthless enemy willing to commit acts of unimaginable barbarism, our government thinks the only way to fight back is...by sinking to their level? By abandoning the very human rights (freedom of thought, freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial) that these terrorists most despise?
If the Congress won't stand up to the President, than we have to stand up. Vote on November 7th, and give the boot to the Republican toadies who currently hold office. Although this isn't really a Republican/Democrat or conservative/liberal issue. Our inalienable rights are being stripped away, and it's the Republicans in the House and Senate who are pitching in with both hands. We need to fire them before it's too late. If it already isn't too late.
The cover story of Rolling Stone this month is title "The Worst Congress Ever"
. It should, and probably will, leave you incredibly pissed off. So pissed off you'll be in the mood to write a ranting post like this one. Not that I'm not pissed off most of the time anyway.
I said it once, I'll say it again, and I'll keep saying it right through to November 7th. Vote the bastards out. It's your duty. Vote.