Defending Civil Rights in Washington [Response to a Huffington Post Comment]


Linksteroh and Emily Brown, apparently you both misunderstood my comment on Huffington Post, so I will try to explain, and I apologize to all who found my writing to be unclear. OK, here goes again:

At the highest levels of the Federal government, and down a ways into the higher levels of the bureaucracy, the civil rights of individuals, the Constitutionality of official actions, and morality tend to be seen as irritating infringements on the freedom of the powerful. Those who defend these principles are viewed as being “not team players,” as “troublemakers.” In public they are currently being called “unpatriotic” or even “terrorists.” All of these terms are, in Washington lexicon, extremely serious charges that merit the destruction of one’s career, marginalization, and perhaps jail time. They can all be summarized by the simple accusation: “How dare you embarrass me?!?” Therefore, to promote civil rights or morality, to blow whistles takes courage.

It appears to me that Wyden, both Pauls, and Udall are leading examples (of course including Warren on finance) of a small group of politicians who have this kind of courage. But they are (if we can believe their words, which I do believe, because they are very embarrassing to the top leadership) fighting against a very powerful and highly committed group that wants expansion, militarism, tight control over criticism by bothersome American citizens, obedience by foreigners, and a flood tide of profits flowing to U.S. corporate leadership.

Obama today is clearly part of this latter group. Linksteroh, you claim “they” were planning his failure. If you mean Wyden, Udall, and Paul by “they,” I would be inclined to disagree and would like to hear your evidence. If you were referring to the broader leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties, well, yes, that is the whole point. Since 9/11, the top levels of Federal leadership have either totally lost their backbone or signed on to what essentially amounts to an imperialist policy abroad plus a domestic national security state primarily directed at making Americans shut up and let the big boys run things.

Given the power of this “war party” that emerged at the end of the Clinton Administration (i.e., the Neo-Cons) and took flight after 9/11 put wind in its sails, it is essential that all those who want to defend civil rights (e.g., vs. NSA snooping) and morality in public policy (e.g., vs. wars of choice or bailouts of billionaires) coordinate their actions.

All the above is just my opinions; I have no knowledge about the highest levels of government beyond that available to anyone who reads and analyzes. I hope at least that I have written clearly this time. If you disagree, I cordially invite you to submit your your reasons.

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