#1. No One Wants to Think About Living in a Country Where Such a Law Is Necessary for National Security
Obama's evolving position on compromising civil liberties for national security is pretty clear. So clear that some people don't care to debate the NDAA -- not because they can't believe that Obama truly supports it, but because they know that nothing changes in a Romney administration. And while Romney clearly had no trouble espousing all sorts of things he didn't believe last Wednesday, pretending to care about counterterrorism's destruction of due process was probably just too hard for him to do with a straight face. So yeah, some people are just jaded about the issue.
"If elected, I will demand that the NDAA ... nah, who am I kidding? Me and Barry O are on the same page on this one."
But still others don't want to debate the NDAA because they don't want to think about the kind of world that requires it. I'm sure Obama is not on some power-hungry mission to use his unbridled power to make us over into the United Republic of Barackastan. (Obamalanda?) Instead, I believe he took office, saw that we were a whisper away from repeated 9/11s all the time and believed that this was a power our government required to keep us safe. But the problem is, that's not a debate the president is supposed to have by himself, and his intentions are not the only consideration. It's not just how a government uses its power, but what power we choose to give government, that defines us as a nation.
None of us are children. We understand that the world is a scary place. We even accept that sometimes the government won't be able to play by the rules during a crisis. When our intelligence lets us know that there's an agent with a suitcase of uranium heading to New York City, we expect Jack Bauer to slowly break fingers one by one until we get a location. But to put that on paper, to say that this is a law, that this is what we believe, changes us as a people before that power's even used.
Benjamin Franklin said that "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." Maybe that's a quaint, old-fashioned sentiment that's no longer true. But if America has become a place where no one believes such things, then let's say it out loud. Don't pretend that nothing has changed. Don't fabricate excuses for our leaders. Look what has happened straight in the face and say that you're totally fine with it. In fact, scream it. Scream it loud enough to wake all the journalists who aren't reporting. All the liberals concerned only with wedge issues and greater evils. All the patriots who forgot to keep fighting. Scream it loud enough to pierce the sleep of anyone who dreamed that they could rest their heads with indifference and still wake up in America.
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