Today the Senate voted down an effort to remove provisions from a defense bill that would allow American citizens to be detained without due process under the guise of capturing and handling suspected terrorists. Both Democrats and Republicans were a part of the huge majority that defeated an amendment to protect our fundamental liberties. In Ohio, Senator Brown voted for the amendment to remove the questionable provisions and thus protect our liberties; Senator Portman voted with the majority, against the amendment to protect our liberty.
Maybe Senator Portman agreed with what I’ve read that another Senator said: “The idea that an American citizen helping al Qaeda doesn’t get due process is just a lie.” Well, I doubt that Anwar al Awlaki would agree with that. We cannot ask him, of course, since even though he was an American citizen, he was assassinated by a drone strike in Afghanistan, without any kind of process except being targeted on Presidential order.
It is well to be reminded of the haunting and hallowed words spoken by Pastor Niemoller about the Nazis:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Today 60% of our Senators voted to allow the military to be police, jury and judge when it comes to the detention of suspected US citizens. With that vote the Constitution is under further attack and we citizens are more vulnerable than at any time since the shameful confinement of Japanese-American citizens to concentration camps by order of President Roosevelt.
It is time to speak out before there is no one left to speak out.