Those in the Tea Parties like to rally against government getting too big and usually cite the bank bailouts, the stimulus package, and the health care reform as tell-tale signs that Obama and the Democrats are leading us into socialism.
It seems that the size of government, regardless of what those programs intend to do or why they were enacted in the first place, trumps the content of the policy. It’s a simple numbers game for them. In their mind, the government has peaked that curve that tips us from capitalism into socialism in their own view of the world and that’s that.
But what about the real issue of government getting too big: the deprivation of American civil liberties. And it’s already been happening. First under Bush with the warrantless wiretapping and torture of terror suspects and now with Obama’s declared execution of an American citizen without any formal charges or due process:
Obama’s now asserting a power so radical — the right to kill American citizens and do so in total secrecy, beyond even the reach of the courts — that it’s “too harsh even for” one of the most far-right War on Terror cheerleading-lawyers in the nation. But that power is certainly not “too harsh” for the kind-hearted Constitutional Scholar we elected as President, nor for his hordes of all-justifying supporters soon to place themselves to the right of David Rivkin as they explain why this is all perfectly justified.
What’s a more egregious act of a too-powerful government: making everyone have health insurance or the ability for the president to kill Americans with total impunity? Why aren’t more people on all sides of the political divide beyond outraged at this?!
Is it because Anwar Awlaki – an American citizen – is an alleged (not even accused, because there haven’t been formal charges even) terrorist and traitor? Unfortunately it seems that a large swath of Americans – including most, if not all, of the GOP – feel that once someone is deemed a terror suspect, they lose all human rights — as evidenced by the support of torture, rendition, and imprisonment for indefinite amounts of time without trial, even for American citizens.
How anyone could be in favor of smaller, less intrusive government yet support any of these powers that the President has given to the executive branch lacks any and all intellectual honesty. It’s downright baffling and oxymoronic.
It must be problematic for those on the right because their fostered hatred for all things Islam has them believing that all Muslims are “the other,” they’re not truly American – even if they are U.S. citizens – which lets them be okay with this because, after all, it’s not like Obama is attempting to assassinate Bubba Joe Thompson from South Carolina or something. It’s Anwar Awlaki from New Mexico. With a name like that and the government saying that he’s a terrorist, well, that’s all the evidence I need!
It’s all good when the President is using those extra-constitutional powers to get the bad guys when the bad guys aren’t you. But what happens when some radical in your social, ethnic, or religious group ends up doing something awful and all of a sudden you’re lumped in with them and targeted by the government? What then? By then it’ll be too far gone to stop.
This is why it’s so dangerous to conflate Islamic, murderous radicals with all Muslims, of which they constitute a tiny minority. We get these knee-jerk reactions that toss away our civil liberties that we fought so hard to gain centuries ago, all under the guise of security and safety and protecting the American way of life.
Unfortunately, it seems that by having Obama – who was elected to clean up government and end these atrocious violations of the Constitution – continue and expand them, it may be too late to change already.
Photo courtesy of Sydney Lea Steele.