The Obama Administration and some members of Congress are beginning to be the government that those of us who believe in the rights of our Constitution do not want. The political climate may be to blame but it is becoming clear that some of the basic rights, beliefs and traditions that make this country unique are not being guaranteed by either branch of government.
I could not believe that I actually agreed with Glenn Beck on anything but he had it absolutely right when he said that those who wanted to deny the rights of the Times Square bomber were denying the rights of an American citizen. The alleged bomber is an American citizen and has every right of any other citizen. He has been charged as a criminal and should be tried as such. You do not deny him his rights just because he is a naturalized citizen (see the 14th amendment) or because he used a tactic that is meant to cause terror. Did we deny Timothy McVeigh his constitutional rights? We tried Tokyo Rose for treason and even with that charge, did not deny her the rights of a United States citizen.
Nevertheless, the Attorney General of the United States has suggested that Congress take a look at when Miranda rights should be read. Even though there is a clause that allows some time before the reading, he still wants Congress to see if we should change some things.
There is also some sentiment in Congress about stripping citizenship from those who are accused of being terrorists. Those advocates want to do that before the allegations are brought to a court of law. What has happened to the American ideal of “innocent until proven guilty?” Have we become so afraid that we are no longer willing to live by our own Constitution and the rights granted in the amendments?
I find fault with both the liberals and the conservatives concerning these matters. Where are those voices that scream for justice under the law? Where are those voices who say that the government is too big; it is too powerful? There is a deafening silence among liberals. That silence denies our liberty; it degrades the long standing fight that liberals have fought for the dignity of man.
As for conservatives, their silence mutes the voice that they have used for years that they are the ones who protect the rights of man. Their voice has been silenced by those who think that conservatives watch out for money. It reinforces the far-right’s belief that if we can keep our money, all the rest of our liberties will remain. The far-right’s cry is about them and their money, not about the rights of others.
Liberals and conservatives must reach a common ground about the true meaning of America. If our concerns are only about the money we have and how to keep it, it is not far in the future that the greatness of America will be lost to the ages. The Declaration of Independence talked about inalienable rights; let us not forget those rights in our fear of the unknown, the viciousness of a crime, or the fear of losing what is mine. We have lived through more perilous times and men and women died protecting us through those times. The least we can do is stand up to those who would deny us the rights others fought and died for, that we may keep them.