So, the executive will now be able to declare anyone in the country an enemy of the people, seize him, and lock him away for as long as it suits, without charges, and without any opportunity for any judicial review or appeal. Add to this the ability to define criminal torture now rests with that same executive and the removal of any accountability for those who might still engage in criminal torture. These are the powers of a tyranny.
I don’t have the power of rhetoric necessary to express the level of indignation required by this latest humiliation – merely one in a long string of humiliations – of the proud heritage of democracy and idealism that used to be known as America, the America I grew up believing in.
I feel beaten and empty. Yet, it is really expected. Expected that the executive would attempt to seize whatever power it could, using whatever rationale that would sell, as long as it could get away with it. Expected that Congress would, once again, cynically ignore its responsibility to defend the Constitution, the country’s position in the world, and even its constituents. Expected that the media would, once again, explain these measures in the terms that the executive uses to explain them, hiding the real scope and implications of this dramatic change in this country’s laws. And, expected that Americans would accept this as good and useful and necessary.
And so, I leave for a long-planned vacation to Italy tomorrow. I don’t know if I will feel any heat as an American in what should be a friendly country, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I do. And, I’ll deserve it – because I’m an American, I am ashamed to say.