Have we elected a closet emperor?

By , May 16, 2009 1:04 pm

As a presidential candidate, Obama did not impress me with his voting record and statements on privacy-related issues such as healthcare privacy and warrantless surveillance.

While I give the President high marks for his efforts to deal with the economic crisis and restore better diplomatic relationships with other countries,   other policies and actions have not assuaged my doubts about his position on human rights and civil liberties. His DOJ’s actions in the   Jewel and Al-Haramain cases indicate that despite his promises of transparency and despite his statements about warrantless surveillance, this president is fighting for greater executive power and secrecy.   His announcement that military tribunals will be used after all — supposedly with greater protections — fly in the face of evidence that the regular federal courts are fully capable of handling these cases.   And his attempts to “look forward” instead of dealing with the past make a mockery of the rule of law.

If one of my children were to commit a crime and then come to me and admit what they had done, I would not say, “OK, well let’s just look to the future.”   They would still have to deal with consequences for whatever wrong they had done.   And if they didn’t even admit that they had done something illegal or wrong but I suspected that they had, I would not say, “OK, let’s just look to the future.”

I was never a supporter of any “truth commission.”   I am still not.   If the laws of this land were broken, then those who broke them need to stand trial.

Whether the issue is torture, warrantless surveillance, or any other law, the President — who is himself a parent — needs to remember that parents cannot tell their children to uphold the law when the government allows adults who may have engaged in egregious conduct to get off scott free with no investigation and no consequences.

So how about it, Mr. President?   How about really upholding the rule of law and human rights?   How about really respecting our Fourth Amendment rights and a law passed by Congress that did not give the previous administration the right to do an end run around FISA? I’ll be happy to look forward with you as long as you are not looking to expand executive power and secrecy, and as long as you do not squash attempts to hold people responsible for any illegal actions they may have committed while in office.

One Response to “Have we elected a closet emperor?”

  1. Lamont Cranston says:

    Amen, my friend. Couldn’t agree with you more

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