Saving the Bill of Rights and Democracy: It is Now or Never!
Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible." -Thomas Jefferson, 1821
Unfortunately, the day that Jefferson warned us about is now here. Political rot or gangrene is now destroying the Body Politic A series of Presidents and Congresses who have belonged to both the Republican and Democratic Parties have presided over the diminution of Bill of Rights bringing it to a shadow of its former self. These leaders have also presided over the weakening of the democratic institutions by which the people of the United States express its will and brought it to such a low point that many voters believe that participation in elections is a waste of time.
Here is where we stand over the last two administrations in Washington, Democratic and Republican:
The Attack on the Bill of Rights and Related Rights
There has been an unbroken path from the administrations of George W. Bush to Barrack Obama decimating the Bill of Rights and other protections of U.S. Citizens. Here is a short list of actions supported by the ruling political parties and in most cases enacted into law:
- Indefinite Detention without Trial, Denial of Habeas Corpus
- Support for use of torture by failing to prosecute those who authorized torture or carried out torture in violation of U.S. and International Law.
- Support for wars of aggression by failing to prosecute members of the Bush Administration who falsely lied to the American People to invade Iraq.
- Support the expansion of the War in Afghanistan far beyond the scope of the Congressional Resolution that authorized action against al-Qaeda and entered into a decade-long colonial occupation that seeks to control the people and resources of that country.
- Warrantless Wiretapping
- Use of State Secrets Doctrine
- Excessive appeals to Executive Privilege
- Excessive Secrecy
- Retention of Torture, Rendition, and Secret Prisons
- Use of Signing Statements
- Use of Military Courts, rather than Civilian Courts
- Violation of the War Powers Act and launching wars without consulting Congress
- Restricting use of the Freedom of Information Act
- “Killing” Websites without due process of law as required by the 5th Amendment of the Constitution
- Passing and extending the “Patriot Act” which allows the FBI to access private record of individuals and companies without a court order
- Carried out illegal restrictions on the right to travel by airplane by subjecting U.S. citizens to violations by their personal privacy rights without probable cause and subjected travelers to dangerous levels of radiation without their permission.
- Attacked Internet freedom under the guise of protecting intellectual property by seeking to pass SOPA and PITA laws which would have given any administraton in power the ability tto close down any Website because of an alleged failure to protect intellectual property without Due Process of Law.
The Attack on Democracy and the Democratic Institutions used by U.S. Citizens to Elect their Leaders
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have restricted the ability of U.S. Citizens to elect their leaders by the following:
- Allowed election agencies to employ voting machines using proprietary software that is not subject to random checks for accuracy.
- Destroyed the paper trail for use in checking the accuracy of electronic voting machines in close elections.
- Failed to investigate claims of stolen elections in the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004.
- Failed to take steps to eliminate the Electoral College which has produced 3 Presidents that were elected by less than a majority of the votes and letting the candidate who lost the popular vote to take office.
- Failed to challenge the power of the United States Supreme Court to select the President of the United States as it did in 2000 when there were political procedures in the U.S. Constitution available to resolve the conflict between the candidates of the two parties.
- Failed to challenge the practice of Gerrymandering which allows the majority controlling a state legislature to draw legislative districts that favor one party over another and that allow the person or persons drawing district boundaries to control outcome of elections and deny voters the right to choose their own elected officials.
- Failed to overturn Supreme Court decisions that allow wealthy individuals to spend unlimited funds to elect candidates who give those contributors favorable treatment under the law.
- Failed to overturn Supreme Court decisions allowing corporations to spend funds from their treasuries to support candidates who will protect their interests at the cost of the Public Interest of everyone else.
- Failed to pass strict campaign spending limits and disclosure laws, even if it required passing a Constitutional Amendment to do so.
The decay of our rights is nearing the day when it will be too late to save them. Please volunteer with Justice Party NOW to stop the loss of our rights and to restore our rights to the place that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution and of the Bill of Rights intended future generations to enjoy.
The only way to stop the decay or gangrene that Jefferson warned us about is to apply the sunlight and oxygen that only an informed and aroused electorate can deliver to a sick and dying political system.
Ben B. Shaw, acting State Chairperson of the Justice Party of Texas
P.O. Box 112
Staples, Texas 78670