Friday, May 22, 2009

Rachel, you're supposed to talk ME down.



Rachel, damn you for making me care. Eight years ago, I was 21 and didn't care about politics. I described myself as an "apathetic Republican", mostly because I had no real opinions on the issues, so I saw no reason to split from how I was brought up. Then we had 9/11, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, torture, the PATRIOT Act, and countless other horrors. These things were so awful to me. We're apparently "The Land of the Free" unless you're not an American citizen. The Republicans seemed determined to destroy our moral high ground. By 2004, I had high-tailed it into the Democratic Party and couldn't believe that any free-thinking individual would align themselves with a party that so roundly approved of these actions. (I know the Democrats appear to be complicit as well. I'm getting to that.)

Along came Obama. Here was a man who I could finally respect. In the two previous presidential elections, I was voting against someone, not for someone. Obama promised to clean up Washington, actually be a government for/of/by the people. He was going to repeal DADT, DOMA, finally collar the lobbyists, cut or raise taxes in a way that makes sense, and institute vast programs to bring our infrastucture, education, and health care systems into the 21st century.

I'm not completely naive. All politicians break promises. I was prepared for less than stellar fiscal policy. I was prepared for some backtracking on GLBT rights. Some things just aren't fit to spend political capital on. So much for "Home of the Brave".

What I was not prepared for was his continuation, and even enhancement, of one of Bush's most deplorable policies -- imprisonment without charges. Bush had his enemy combatants, but of course, he couldn't tell anyone why they were being held. Obama proposes the same thing, but this time with a proper legal framework and periodic review. Is there a legal way to hold someone without charges, just on the mere possibility that they may pose a threat? I'm interested to see what farce this man comes up with.

I don't want dangerous people out on the streets anymore than anyone else does, but if we stop abiding by our own principles, we cease being who we are. For a man who claims to be guided by the rule of law, he seems more and more interested in loopholes.

Update: You can watch a video and read the transcript of Obama's speech at The Huffington Post.

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