I feel I have lost my country and I am disheartened by this fact. If we do not live by our ideals we can no longer claim those ideals. When our country, founded on the belief that our government is supposed to be responsive to the citizenry, allows that government to make decisions that violate the constitution, that violate the rule of law, that violate the humane treatment of prisoners, I fear for the future of our nation. When we violate the basic tenets of our legal system including the right to face accusers, the right to trial by a jury of our peers, the right to due process, we unravel the fabric of who we are as a nation. When we can say the behavior of our soldiers is too inflammatory to be seen by the general public, when we can’t try detained individuals in our legally constituted courts because our elected officials claim that our courts do not have the capacity to handle the charges, we unravel the fabric of who we are as a nation. When we say our federal prisons which have housed terrorists for years suddenly are not safe to house convicted terrorists, we unravel the fabric of our nation.
These positions speak of patriarchy and fear. We, the people, do not know enough to make informed decisions, they say. Our elected officials need to protect us from uncomfortable truths and make decisions for us, they say. We should trust them and not ask questions, they say. It’s for our own good, they say. It’s for our standing in the world, they say. When these excuses are given, when these explanations for why we need to give up our constitutional rights are given, we, the people, need to reclaim our government. We need to vote in elected officials who remember what we stand for. I had hoped that we had done so by electing President Obama. Now I am not so hopeful.
We, the people, can deal with the errors in judgment made in our name by former administrations. We, the people, can deal with the fallout of those choices. What I fear that we, the people, cannot deal with is any more hiding, failing to take responsibility for our actions, and holding ourselves to a different standard than we expect from the rest of the world.
If we are the change we seek, we must seek change that elevates our nation, that elevates the rule of law, that elevates humanity. Yes, these are difficult times, but our ability to weather them will, in my humble opinion, be determined by the quality of our character and the example we set, areas in which we have been woefully lax in recent years. I want my country back, a country based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want my country back, a country based on justice, the rule of law, and due process. I want my country back!