Quick, everyone, celebrate the US Constitution while you still can! Today, September 17, is “Constitution Day,” a federal holiday meant to honor the signing of the Constitution some 221 years ago. However, our current dictator, oops, I mean president, refers to it as merely “a god damn piece of paper.”
Now, while the constitution has its faults, it’s a pretty nifty document as government documents go. I am a fan of the Bill of Rights. I only wish my government was too.
Instead, the current administration has run roughshod over the Constitution, ignoring limits on executive power, dismantling habeus corpus, and enacting a torture/surveillance state, to name but a few. The Patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act (spearheaded by John McCain), and the FISA laws are some of the nails in the coffin of the US Constitution. Bush and co have heavily edited the Constitution, deleting some of the more important aspects of the documents (as hilariously documented some time ago in the post “Bush’s Amended Bill of Rights.”)
Ralph Nader, who is in favor of restoring constitutional rights and urges those who feel the same to pledge to do the same at http://constitutionpledge.com/, notes that:
We’ve seen The U.S. Constitution shredded over the past 8 years.
The Republicans led the charge, and the Democrats followed along, voting for the misnamed PATRIOT Act, the illegal war and occupation of Iraq, and the snoop FISA law that allows Washington to eavesdrop on our telephone calls whenever they want. These were 3 big blows to our constitutional rights, but the erosion of our basic civil liberties has been occurring for a long time now.
As revealed by the Safe and Free:Restore our Constitutional Rights section of the ACLU’s webpages, The Patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act, and FISA are unconstitutional and give the government unchecked powers. For more on these very worrying ‘edits’ to the Constitution, see here, here, and here. As I noted in an earlier post (here), these changes are worryingly indicative of a society that tends far more towards fascism than towards democracy.
In closing, I offer Keith Olbermann’s elucidating take on the death of Habeas Corpus below.
Happy constitution day everyone, and here is hoping this time next year, we have reinstated all the rights deleted by Bushco and maybe even finally passed the Equal Rights Amendment. One can dream…