The Bush administration’s grab for unchecked executive power is threatening to turn our nation into a police state. It began with the nonsensical notion that suspicion of terrorism (a charge that requires no proof) is sufficient to secretly and without due process detain and try non-citizen legal residents of the United States. That’s not just illogical, unfair, and un-American – it’s an incredibly bad idea.
Do we want to sink to the moral level of the non-democratic governments that we routinely criticize for abuse of human rights?
Do we want to be subject to capricious detention and secret trial when we travel abroad?
The silence of the American public suggests that many have tacitly agreed to trade the basic rights of non-citizens for an illusion of security. But given our history of home-grown terrorism – e.g., Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski – can we be sure that all the recent tragedies, particularly the anthrax attacks, are the work of foreigners?
Since Attorney General John Ashcroft has stopped just short of charging his critics in the U.S. Senate with sedition, Congress now more than ever needs our support to do the right thing.
The world and history will judge us for our efforts to preserve American ideals of justice and fair play in these difficult times.