The events of the last year have been quite dramatic even in the context of the last decade. With the unexpected rise of the Occupy movement we have seen another powerful indication that the American people will no longer stand idly by while multinational corporations and their allies corrupt the basic tenets of our democracy. At the same time we have also witnessed some of the most profound challenges to our most basic political liberties. With the passage and signing of sections 1031 and 1032 of the National Defense Authorization Act, America has now been declared a “battlefield” and the standing practice of the president to indefinitely detain any individual without trial has been codified into law. Furthermore, it has been revealed that the executive branch is now overseeing a secret committee which is ordering the assassination of U.S. citizens without trial or so much as formal charges.
It should be evident that such provisions and practices are anything but trivial matters. These extraordinary presidential powers are nothing short of dictatorial and entirely unwarranted. Despite president Obama’s signing statement in regards to the aforementioned provisions of the NDAA, the simple legal existence and general acceptance of these practices by the highest powers in the U.S.is the death knell of democracy. The response from every true progressive and loyal Democrat must be a resounding, “This shall not stand!”
What I am to ask of you is no simple matter, but it is desperately necessary. I am calling on all U.S. Democratic Party Clubs to send formal resolutions denouncing the signing of the NDAA, and the twin evils of indefinite detention and execution without trial. This call in and of itself should never be difficult, indeed it should be something that should be done regardless of any impediment if one is truly dedicated to the principles of self-rule and political liberty. However, it is unfortunately the case that this will require you to rebuke a president who is popular within your party during an election year.
It is highly unfortunate that such a trivial matter should stand in the way of doing what is right and necessary. For whatever reason, the abuses which were so widely and justly criticized by the party during the Bush administration are now ignored under the present. While it is understandable that it is difficult to criticize an individual who has achieved so much, while facing opponents so depraved as those in the Republican party, neither should impede the necessary defense of the core tenet of our Democracy. No individual in our nation should have the ability to deprive any of us of our liberty or our lives without a fair trial by a jury of our peers.
For those party organizations which are noble enough to take up this call, know that you will receive sharp opposition from all corners of your party. When this happens be sure to point out how vital it is that these issues be discussed immediately. Ask your comrades in the party what a president Romney, Santorum or Gingrich would do with such unrestricted power. It is likely that you will face opposition so vehement that the question of the membership of your club may come in to question. If this is to happen, it is at this point that the question must be asked as to why it is worth supporting a party that would sacrifice its most core principles to have a member residing at a house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I would hope that this is a conversation that no one within the party will have to undertake.
I urge those members of the party reading this appeal to reject the petty partisan concerns of electability in a presidential election season. Is the campaign for one political office so important as to sacrifice the freedom of the common man and woman? The office of the president is vastly out of reach to those who are not rich and powerful. What hope do we stand if we sacrifice all our liberties for the hope that those elite who vie for the office will respect our petty concerns such as to be held innocent before proven guilty? Can we trust our present and future presidents to responsibly wield ultimate power? I would hope that you realize the answer to these questions, and I beg you all to do what is right.