March 16, 2006

The Bill of Rights: They Were Good While They Lasted

Last night I watched the documentary “Unconstitutional: The War on our Civil Liberties”. Needless to say, this movie pissed me off. Not because it sucked, or because I thought it was a bunch of bull.…on the contrary, it was a fantastic film. But it was sickening all the more because I know it’s true.

Watch this movie. If you can’t find it in your local video store, sign up for Netflix and stick it on the top of your queue. Just watch it. Trust me, it will piss you off, too.

I emailed every member of my congressional delegation today, despite the fact that I know all three of them stand for everything I stand against. I told them that they will never get my vote until they support the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, where over 500 people have been held for over four years without legal counsel, without charges brought against them, and without any sign of affording them due process of law.

I reminded them of a nifty little passage I found that they apparently have never read. Here’s what I sent them:

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

That’s a wonderful quote, isn’t it? Too bad it doesn’t seem to apply anymore. Which should be surprising considering this is the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Notice that this quote doesn’t state “No American citizen,” rather, it simply says “No person.” That includes the prisoners held in Guantanamo.

Not only that, this facility also violates nearly every international law (see The Geneva Convention) relating to treatment and prosecution of war prisoners.

That the United States of America, the supposed “beacon of liberty and justice” in the world, would allow a place like this to exist, let alone create and operate it, makes me incredibly sad for my nation.

It doesn’t matter if they are the “evil ones” that Bush preaches about. If they are guilty, charge them with a crime, give them the trial they deserve as an inalienable right of being HUMAN and bring them to justice. But if they are innocent, as I suspect at least some of them are, LET THEM GO! But to hold them in perpetuity, without charges, without dignity, and without due process of law makes us the “evil ones.”

Do I think Senators Stevens and Murkowski and Representative Young are going to do a damn thing about it?

I seriously doubt it.

Anyway, to close this gloomy thread, the movie discusses the many ways our civil liberties have been stripped away and blatantly ignored since 2001, all in the name of protecting us in the “war on terror” using legislation such as the USA Patriot Act (which was recently, and very unfortunately, renewed) and Presidential orders such as the illegal, warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. A friend of mine at Dragonmount had this to say about the whole thing,

We aren't at war. War implies there is a way to win. People claim that the terrorists are after our 'freedom'. So we turn around and give up that freedom. War over. They won. We can all go home now.” -- (Goblingirl, posted on, 03-15-06)

You know what? I completely agree with her.

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