Sunday, June 27, 2010

Is it time to round up all the Muslims and put them in camps?

In 1942 approximately 110,000 Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry were rounded up and placed in “war relocation camps” following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This was authorized by an Executive Order issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1988, the Congress passed and President Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment, blaming the internment on “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”

Those who think that could not happen again should not be so sure. 1942 was not that long ago and unfortunately I do not think we have a greater appreciation of constitutional rights nor greater respect for our fellow citizens now than we did then. We can still fall victim to race prejudice, war hysteria and failure of political leadership.

In 1942, the census bureau helped make the Japanese round-up possible by providing confidential information on Japanese Americans. The government now has more ability to locate and track people and has more information on the American people than they did in 1942.

The one thing that so dismays me and makes me think that we are not a better people now than we were in 1942 and that our liberties are no more secure, is that I see as great a threat coming from the right as I do from the left. I do not expect better from the left, but I am disappointed in the right.

Certainly it is the Obama administration that is the immediate threat to our liberties, attempting to curtail our rights by the mandate to purchase in the health care act, by the attempt to suspend the secret ballot by card check, by attempts to gain control over the Internet, and by partial nationalization of the financial sector, the auto sector, and the energy sector of the economy. The threat to our liberties has never been greater. The degree to which power is being concentrated in the White House is unprecedented.

It is the right however, carrying signs proclaiming their love of the constitution and respect for the founding fathers, that may be an equal or greater threat. Many on the right show little respect for freedom of religion, free speech, due process and property rights.

In Murfressboro we see a Muslin group wanting to build a mosque. The mosque meets the zoning and land use requirements of the property, yet there is public demand that the building of the mosque be stopped. A leading Republican candidate for the 6th Congressional Distinct nomination has joined in the demand. There is a fear that all Muslims are actual or potential terrorist and that this mosque will be a terrorist training school.

Let me make this clear: I support efforts to track down terrorist. I want a vigilant government that protects us from those who would do us harm. I do not want to suspend the constitution in order to make it easier to catch the bad guys however. I don’t want to deny rights to other American citizens because they practice a certain religious faith or because of their appearance or ancestry.

A democracy means more than simply majority rule. If we don’t hold the right to freedom of religion sacred, if we do not respect our constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom to assemble, if we can change the rules and deny someone the right to develop their property just because we don’t like what they are going to build, are we any better than the socialist of the left? Our rights are not to apply just to the majority. The majority do not need a Bill of Rights. If today we can deny a Muslim congregation the right to build a mosque, tomorrow we can deny the Mormons or Church of Scientology the right to build a house of worship. Is freedom of religion only for members of the Church of Christ and Baptist?

Is the tug of war between the right and the left simply about who exercises dictatorial power and who gets to pick the winner and losers? Is it devoid of any real understanding or respect for freedom? Is all this talk on the right about us being endowed by our Creator with inherent and inalienable rights just convenient rhetoric to score points?

As I watch the debate about the building of a mosque in Murfressboro, I fear that if we had another 9-11 type attack on America that we would see a demand that the rights of Muslim be suspended and they all be rounded up and locked away. This demand would not come from the left but from supposedly constitution-loving, small-government advocating, freedom-loving right wingers.

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5 comments:

  1. Rod,

    I agree with your post as a whole, but your have some fundamental errors and issues in your details.

    Your summary of President Obama's supposed "attempting to curtail our rights by the mandate to purchase in the health care act, by the attempt to suspend the secret ballot by card check, by attempts to gain control over the Internet, and by partial nationalization of the financial sector, the auto sector, and the energy sector of the economy. The threat to our liberties has never been greater. The degree to which power is being concentrated in the White House is unprecedented," are grossly mistaken, either in hyperbolic summary, or paranoic disinformation, or willful ignorance.

    For example:

    The claimed suspension of the secret ballot is assuredly referring to the card-check legislation before Congresss for workers to vote on forming a union. The fact is, the legislation gives the power of the vote *method* to the voting workers, and they would be able to *choose* either anonymous vote or signed card. The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the National Labor Relations Board election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply enables workers to also form a union through majority sign-up if a majority prefers that method to the NLRB election process. Under current law, workers may only use the majority sign-up process if their *employer* agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act would make that choice -- whether to use the NLRB election process or majority sign-up -- a majority choice of the employees, not the employer.

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  2. As for the outlandish claim that the Obama aministration is trying to take over the internet, I assume you are referring to the "internet kill switch"....

    A review of the 1934 Telecommunications Act (as amended in 1996) indicates that the President has broad powers to simply shut off any and all regulated telecommunications if he deems it necessary for national security. Section 706 of the Act, entitled "War Emergency -- Powers of the President" says:

    (c) Upon proclamation by the President that there exists war or a threat of war, or a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency, or in order to preserve the neutrality of the United States, the President, if he deems it necessary in the interest of national security or defense, may suspend or amend, for such time as he may see fit, the rules and regulations applicable to any or all stations or devices capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations within the jurisdiction of the United States as prescribed by the Commission, and may cause the closing of any station for radio communication, or any device capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations between 10 kilocycles and 100,000 megacycles, which is suitable for use as a navigational aid beyond five miles, and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or he may authorize the use or control of any such station or device and/or its apparatus and equipment, by any department of the Government under such regulations as he may prescribe upon Communications Act of 1934 just compensation to the owners. The authority granted to the President, under this subsection, to cause the closing of any station or device and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or to authorize the use or control of any station or device and/or its apparatus and equipment, may be exercised in the Canal Zone.

    (d) Upon proclamation by the President that there exists a state or threat of war involving the United States, the President, if he deems it necessary in the interest of the national security and defense, may, during a period ending not later than six months after the termination of such state or threat of war and not later than such earlier date as the Congress by concurrent resolution may designate, (1) suspend or amend the rules and regulations applicable to any or all facilities or stations for wire communication within the jurisdiction of the United States as prescribed by the Commission, (2) cause the closing of any facility or station for wire communication and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or (3) authorize the use or control of any such facility or station and its apparatus and equipment by any department of the Government under such regulations as he may prescribe, upon just compensation to the owners.

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  3. In other words, as Phillips told us, the President already has an Internet kill switch: he can't shut off a website, but he can shut off any and all wireless or wired Internet access.

    Lieberman's Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 (S. 3480) is, thankfully, somewhat more complex than that. It requires that owners of critical infrastructure, a definition that dates to the PATRIOT Act, work with the newly created director of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications within the Department of Homeland Security, to develop a risk assessment and a plan to mitigate their risks in the case of a national cyber emergency.

    And for you preposterous claims about the nationalization of the financial sector and the auto sector: well, those were initiated under the *Bush* administration...Not under President Obama. And loaning money and investing in companies that formed somehow the major infrastructure of the economy so that the entire collapse of those industries *all at once* didn't happen, well, I don't blame him one bit. But tell me how that means nationalization when the government hasn't even made significant changes or prevent any changes in the running of those industries can be translated into horrid nationalization.

    It was also during the Bush Administration that this "unprecedented" concentration of power was started. It didn't suddenly magically start January 20, 2009...I don't know too much of what President Obama has done to remove that power, but he didn't just start a power grab when he came into office. It was there when he moved in.

    And the energy sector nationalization fear is more chicken little finger-pointing blame-storming on the side of the members of the Republic party. Point me to any attempts by the White House to do that.

    Also, keep in mind, when you say "A democracy means more than simply majority rule", that this is *entirely* what a democracy is. You have just mixed up the American form of constitutional republic we have with the concept of democracy. Democracy can take shape without the controls and limits we have in place as part of our American Constitution...Our form of government is *built on* democracy, but is actually more than that. We have assured that that democracy cannot be used to abridge certain rights, but without those provisions in the Constitution, they could easily be removed from the citizens and residents and visitors.

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  4. Thank you for this post. I am glad that someone on the opposite side of the spectrum also has some of the same concerns. Your post and the situation reminds me of this poem.

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up."

    I fear very much that this country is coming to this.

    I originally came here to see if you said anything about robocalls (I don't understand how candidates are getting our cell phone numbers, especially if we are not registered for their parties--I have done GOTV stuff before and we only ever called people who were registered for our party.) I just received a very offensive robocall and it makes me more annoyed as a violation of privacy that it was on my cell phone. Any thoughts?

    Again, thanks for this post.

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