From Democracy to Dictatorship

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by Becky Akers: Thanks,
But I'll Take the Constitution as My ‘PassengerAdvocate’



As I walk the
streets of Manhattan, I study the other pedestrians and wonder if
they sense our danger. A mother pushing her son's stroller laughs
into her cell phone; two elderly gentlemen greet each other effusively;
a jogger shuffles past; shoppers lug their treasures home. No one
looks especially worried or upset, and I wonder if they've heard
about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA).

How can the
sun brightly shine and taxis whiz past as if nothing has changed?

With this legislation,
America joins some of the modern world's most brutal dictatorships
— regimes like Nazi Germany, Mao's China, and communist Russia.
Places where people disappear into concentration camps or gulags,
for any reason or, more usually, none at all. Nations in which citizens
don't count except for the taxes and labor they furnish the State.
These contemporary serfs exist only to further their rulers' whims;
they dare not voice even the faintest opposition for fear of ruthless

This is what
happens when governments accuse and imprison whomever they please
without an iota of evidence.

And this is
the future to which our elected sociopaths have sentenced us with
the NDAA. Its suspension of habeas corpus inevitably condemns
this country to dictatorship, while its deputizing the armed forces
to "detain" civilians — indefinitely, no less — just as
inevitably insures that the dictatorship will be a military one.

We might excuse
Congress on the assumption that as with most lengthy bills, its
liars, thieves, and killers didn't read this one either — except
debate in both houses specifically argued about the provisions relating
to habeas corpus. No one could have possibly misconstrued
the stakes. Sen. Lindsey Cracker-sorry, Graham [R-SC] alone crystallized
the stark choice of freedom or totalitarianism in unforgettable
words: “It
is not unfair to make
an American citizen account for the fact
that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them
as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming
next. And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut
up. You don’t get a lawyer.'”

Our betrayal
was bipartisan: Demopublicans supported this blatantly unconstitutional
legislation in droves.

Likewise, a
handful from each side of the aisle denounced it. Ron
Paul naturally and strenuously opposed it
, as did his
son Rand (R-KY), who warned
, “We’re talking about American citizens
who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo
Bay and held indefinitely. It puts every single American citizen
at risk."

Even Comrade
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) chided, “We are not a nation that locks
up its citizens without charge.” She then sponsored the Due
Process Guarantee Act of 2011
. This "clarified" that
neither the NDAA nor other legislation could "authorize the
detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent
resident of the United States."

How tragic
that anyone considers a "guarantee" of "due process"
necessary, let alone feels compelled to introduce it. Why wasn't
the Constitution's far stronger promise sufficient? And if the highest
law of the land couldn't restrain politicians who swore to uphold
and defend it, the Comrade's lesser legislation certainly won't.

Where does
all this leave us, the potential "indefinite detainees"?

If history
is any guide — and it may not be, given the internet and computers'
long memories – , we'll escape relatively unscathed at first. Ever
since Julius Caesar captured some of Rome's senate, dictators have
tended to focus on political rivals initially, in descending order
of threat. If a civilian remains president of the US, he'll begin
spotting remarkable similarities between "terrorists"
and his competitors for office. After he's eliminated them, he'll
focus on Congress: tyrants by definition do not share their power.
The craven curs who blithely sold our rights will be among the first
to regret the sale — bitterly.

But there's
little reason to believe a civilian will continue as president:
armed men usually shove unarmed ones out of the way. The empowered
military will probably realize almost immediately what so many troops
before it have: politicians are at best a nuisance and at worst
an unwanted "partner" in their power.

Once the commanding
general has consolidated the executive, legislative, and judicial
branches in himself — and imprisoned or executed their former occupants
— we're next.

Again, history
tells us the order of elimination. First will be political "dissidents"
and intellectuals of all stripes – though a tyrant's definition
of "dissident" probably differs from ours as much as the
idea of "terrorist" does
. And this is the point at
which computers become our worst horror. Ever written a letter to
the editor criticizing the government? Ever forwarded one of those
emails joking about a politician or discussed politics while chatting
on the phone?

Remember that
the Feds
now routinely eavesdrop on our calls and read our emails
— and
all that data has just become a treasure-trove for identifying "dissidents."
But tyranny is arbitrary, so you may join Congress in Gitmo or the
authorities may simply warn you to keep quiet hereafter.

Pray these
predictions are wrong. If so, it won't be because Americans should
expect a result different from other countries that have plunged
into this abyss. Rather, some happy event will occur. Congress may
suddenly realize its vulnerability and repeal the NDAA. Ron Paul
might win the presidency. Or another revolution like our first may
break out against an intolerable government; according to Jefferson,
we not only have a right, we have a duty to throw off the NDAA's
absolute despotism.

In effect,
this legislation is the United States' declaration of war on its
own citizens. Fine. Let us arm ourselves for battle.

5, 2012

Akers [send her mail] writes
primarily about the American Revolution.

Best of Becky Akers

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