Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Told You So - The Bush Effect: An Activist Supreme Court

Surprise, surprise. Is it too early to say, "I told you so?" If I can already say that, then it's a surprise to me too. I thought the "Bush Supreme Court Effect" would take longer and that I may not live long enough to say "I told you so." But, it appears to be time, so here it is. If you are conservative or libertarian, I'll bet you believe you stand for "Freedom," with a capital "F." And so, under that delusion, you voted for G. W. Bush, stomped for war and big defense spending, joined in celebrations when we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, call Arabs ragheads, yelled "drill, baby, drill" in unison with John McCain and Sarah Palin, and you may be on the Tea Party path, all for the cause of Freedom and Democracy. And, you may have that symbolic gun on your wall or on a rack behind your pickup seat. You may be even wearing a gun around your waist, just beneath your pot belly and will, more than likely, shoot your own foot when you pull it out than protect yourself from some imaginary foe. I would say, however, that owning that "gun" is about the only Freedom you've got. You have already, symbolically, shot your own foot.

This article, "Court Under Roberts is Most Conservative in Decades," shows that you've got your wish, you can own a gun. But, you may not have any right or freedom from prosecution under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the one that says you are protected from "unreasonable search and seizure" of your property and home. In fact, in the case of Hudson v. Michigan, the court ruled that the police can enter your home anytime, without notice or knocking, and seize anything it wants and use it as evidence against you. Was it Senator Sam Ervin, the Chairman of the Watergate Committee, who told John Ehrlichman, in response to Ehrlichman's claim that breaking into to Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office was okay, "the King cannot enter your house without permission?" I guess under the Robert's Court, The King can now enter your home whenever he wants to, and take whatever he wants. The Forth Amendment is dead. I'm reminded of a series of questions that apply to the death of the Forth Amendment. It goes something like this. "If there are ten innocent people, will you destroy it?" "No," was the answer. And, from ten innocent, the questioner reduced the number one by one to finally ask, "If there is a single innocent person, will you destroy it?" "No," was still the answer. What do you believe? Can the police enter a home, before the guilt or innocence of a person is determine by trial, and seize property without a warrant, or even knocking first? Is a person's guilt determined before a trial?

And then there is that hottest item on the agenda, abortion, the main question being whether a woman can control her own destiny or not. It is ironic that the best way to reduce abortions is to provide these woman with good, affordable healthcare, but that was defeated by conservative and libertarian movements. In all countries that provide socialized healthcare, abortion rates have been reduced to nearly zero and only those that are a threat to the woman's life are performed. You can read those statistics by searching the United Nations database yourself. But, here we are, shouting for better treatment of women in Afghanistan and Iran (they're going to execute a woman in Iran because of some archaic law), and in China women can have only one child, yet we want to make our own women criminals when they are faced with choices that mean life or death to themselves. Perhaps we should go the way of the Catholic Church without the slightest birth control, and then become like China with so many people we restrict families to one child or go to jail? How many innocent women will we jail or, for that matter, die? Can we say that no woman getting an abortion is innocent? What if only one, of all that get abortions, is innocent and is forced into her circumstances by our own archaic laws or social oppression? But, it appears that the Robert's Court is moving to overturn Roe v. Wade and make a woman's body the property of the government, innocent or not.

How about freedom of speech? I suppose we still have that in that we still can say what we want to say. But, as an individual, our voice is nearly a whisper compared to corporate voices. We will not likely be heard. In Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, the Robert's Court overturned a previous ruling that restricted corporate campaign spending, and now, even when the campaign ads and information are lies and deceitful, corporations and unions are allowed to spend whatever they want from their corporate profit to promote deceitful ads and misinformation in our elections. The real result is that our individual freedom of speech is diminished and oppressed. And, then there are the voices of the poor. Who hears those voices? Do they say anything at all? I think when they can't speak, neither can we. When there is no justice for them, then we have no freedoms either.

There's more and I recommend reading the article. It turns out, it seems to me, that liberalism is freedom's cause, not conservatism or libertarianism. The very meaning of the word, liberal, means freedom. I hate to say it, but I told you so.


No comments: