The Day America Ended?

I like reading Jonathan Turley even though he usually just depresses me. I guess I feel like it is my duty as a citizen to try to stay informed. His latest column is about Obama’s signing of the NDAA, the defense authorization act. He is right that Obama should not have signed it, and certainly not in the new year’s eve new’s blackout period. The section of the bill he is talking about is pretty obviously unconstitutional, and if you think it isn’t, then I have a hard time believing you’ve read the constitution lately. In any case, it is now our official law (until or unless the court rules against it or some future congress changes it) that we are no longer a nation of laws, but are now a nation of men, and any citizen can be held indefinitely without charge simply on the whim of the commander in chief deciding the person is a terrorist threat. No, I’m not really worried about Obama abusing it, and that is so not the point. Obama won’t always be president. It is just another slow slip down the slope away from our being a democratic nation of laws. Turley gives most of the blame to Obama, and surely he shouldn’t have signed it. But it goes deeper than that. The mere fact that any elected official in America would write such language into a bill shows how far we have fallen from our ideals. The fact that the media ignored the signing. Not just the mainstream media, which you would expect, but even smaller outlets on the left (and maybe on the right; I admittedly don’t follow them much).
As Neil Postman so brilliantly argued years ago in his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” Orwell was wrong and Huxley was right. We have ignored the slow dismantling of our constitution while paying obscene, minute attention to all the meaningless candidates who will disappear once the Iowa caucuses are over. I guess destroying the constitution is a downer and doesn’t sell as many ads as the crazy things the Herman Cains of the world say. The fact that we will plod along as though nothing has changed is what is really frightening. By the time anyone realizes what has happened, it will likely be too late. We can only fight, and hope it is a very very slow slide.


About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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2 Responses to The Day America Ended?

  1. Jim says:

    JP – Correct Neil Postman’s name… Also, pretty inflammatory title for you, this time. That bill is hardly a big deal compared to the stunts and carap that W signed, we are in the post apocalyptic world, I guess.

  2. JP says:

    Typo corrected. There is a question mark at the end of my title; it was a question, not a statement. And it only happened because of the stuff W did, and that is the point. W started us on this downward path, and now even the president is powerless to stop it. Passing a law that says we no longer honor due process, perhaps the foundation of what America is all about, is far more inflammatory than my pointing it out.

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