Sunday, November 19, 2006

History Repeats Itself

So many of the abuses during the cold war era read like today's morning paper.
On December 6, 2001, nearly 50 years after convicted Soviet spy Ethel Rosenberg was executed, her brother admits he lied under oath about her involvement. An innocent woman was put to death in the nation's frenzy to punish "reds and traitors." He lied because the government made a deal with him. Today, they show no such finese, they just torture the lies from their victims.
The act was opposed because it "would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights [and] would actually weaken our internal security measures.", an observation levied at both the USA PATRIOT act and the attack of Iraq. Why even the author of the article, Phillip Morrison, in his time expressed doubts about nuclear warfare and was hauled before a tribunal for his trouble.
Alger Hiss served in many capacities for the US government from 1929-1946, then left public service to become president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee and eventually convicted of espianoge. The evidence points to him being framed. During Hiss's career he held many posts that ran counter to the rich and powerful. Captain James Yee, an Islamic Chaplain serving at Guantanimo Bay was arrested for espiange and prosecutors were discussing the death penalty, until a question of whether or not the papers he was carrying were even classified arose. Now they have "found" pornography on his work computer, and are charging him with sex related offenses.
Maurice Halperin was another citizen that may have been run over by the unbridled wheels of McCarthyism. Whenever we hide behind the sudden vital need for national security innocent people are going to get hurt. Due process and the rules of evidence are vital to a free society. There can be no excuse for suspending them. Secret tribunals, internment camps, and other constitution shredding techniques should be openly and loudly opposed.

We need to get our courage back. It is not treason, but patriotism to question and speak up when wrong is done in our name.
Dwight D. Eisenhower U.S. general, Republican politician, President said "Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels-men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine, as their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."
Theodore Roosevelt, another Republican statesman, and President said "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
And John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, soldier and President said "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Speak up and urge your elected Representatives to give America back to the people and restore our republic back to it's constitutional roots. These experiments with tyrany have been tried before, and in each case ended badly; each time the oppressive laws were repealed and the disgraceful practices rebuffed. Secret prisons, torture and domestic spying have all been foisted on the American people before, and our love for liberty prevailed. Habeus Corpus has been in jeopardy, innocent men denied their right to a fair trial, heroes accused of cowardous and patriots have been painted as traitors. And in each case the people have risen up to throw off the yoke of oppression. Mahatma Gandhi tells us " Be the change that you want to see in the world." and Jim Wallis of Sojourners recalls the words of his friend Lisa Sullivan, "we are the ones we have been waiting for." Don't ring your hands and bewail the lack of a deliverer, we are the deliverers. Step up and answer Rabbi Hillels challenge, "if not now, when? if not us, who?" Well, who?

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