Rights Are Non-Negotiable Print
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 08:44

I’m beginning to have a modicum of hope for perpetually misinformed Americans. The turning point occurred when, after the attacks on the three World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, then-President George W. Bush’s administration was exposed for its deceptions. Namely that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and the purported masterminds behind the attack (al-Qaeda) had no ties to, or presence in (prior to the U.S. invasion), Iraq.

Americans’ trust in our own government suffered irreparable damage once we learned that the so-called evidence that led us into the undeclared war against the Iraqi government forces (which the U.S. previously armed and funded) was manufactured, and part of long legacy of deceptions that have greased the wheels of war since America’s founding.

Almost all allegations of government deceptions, those too shocking to comprehend at first, are immediately labeled by the corporate-media cartel as outlandish conspiracy theories on the part of some marginalized segment of society – labels that the majority of us are happy to embrace if it means not having to face such terrible truths. Eventually, however, many of these conspiracy theories emerge as stunningly accurate, fact-based accountings of events that can no longer be denied by those who possess a scintilla of intelligence.

Still, the public continues to rely on the media cartel’s version of news, best described as a devolution of homogeneous scripts adopted by all six of the corporate news agencies, dressed down to a sixth-grade comprehension level. Coupled with relentless programming of repetitive misdirection and strategic memes, it is taking decades for the real stories to reach critical mass. By then the true culprits behind these theories-turned-facts have disappeared, secure in the layers of administrative law designed to insulate them from culpability. That said, more and more Americans are glimpsing the theatre behind what passes for mainstream news, and minds are finally opening. What Americans are willing to do to stop such deceptions remains to be seen.

Clearly the deeper challenge in recognizing fact from the fiction that permeates media coverage stems from our stubborn unwillingness to accept that our government is systemically contrary to our interests as free individuals. America’s founders addressed this inherent conflict by crafting a governing Constitution that protects our interests by limiting government’s authority over us.

Most Americans have only a cursory understanding of these epic founding documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights). Nothing is more detrimental to an open society, especially one formed as a republic under the rule of law, than this generational abdication of the basic understanding of core principles that define our particular model of self-governance.

To that point, have you actually read any of these documents? When? Can you name the five protections in the First Amendment without looking them up? If not, you are absolutely failing in your personal civic responsibility as an American. And if you are failing this basic duty, on what ground do you stand complaining? It is likely your complaints are full of assumptions, misinformation, and misunderstanding, falling far short of compelling ideas that might inspire some action – any action to create necessary change.

I promise you: Not understanding the fundamental structure, principles, intent, and history of how the people have consented to be governed is by far the greatest threat to America.

Constantly distracted Americans are easily controlled because they are not familiar with either the nature or extent of their unalienable rights, let alone the remedies available to them should their rights be violated, whether by fellow Americans or their government. These folks are simply not plugged into their own authority as individual Americans.

Which brings me to the heart of governing philosophy – the proverbial “greater good.” The greater good depends on whose good we are talking about. In other words, whose good is more important – the good of the group or the good of the individual? How we consent to be governed in the 21st Century depends on how Americans answer this critical question.

In terms of socioeconomic function, a group can be defined many ways, from an entire society to some segment(s) of a society to an arbitrary number of specified individuals that compose a group; the variations are limited only by imagination. However, an individual is just that – one man or woman. Because a single individual represents the least common denominator, regardless of the size or composition of the group, then what is good for the individual necessarily ensures the collective greater good, because each individual within the group is considered.

The key to success is the equal application of consideration for each individual. In other words, the law must apply equally to all, no exceptions. Arbitrary enforcement is the policy of closed societies, where some form of authoritarianism is the the political model. History has proven countless times these forms of government eventually fail every time.

For this to be inviolate, great transparency on the part of government is essential. There should be virtually no need for secrecy, but when it is required, it should meet the highest threshold of demonstrated need before it is permitted. Ask yourself what purpose secrecy serves as it relates to government business. In most instances, when secrecy was broken, misdeeds and corruption were exposed. This means that secrecy provides cover for misconduct, much of it criminal and therefore prosecutable.

Sadly, for the past five decades, public-sector leadership, often in concert with private-sector interests, has favored shielding such fiends, and even implemented policy that encourages gun running, illicit drug trading, assassinations, insider trading of securities, price manipulation, money laundering, undermining competition, spying on Americans, torturing, and drone killing without due process, to name the more serious offenses. Myriad smaller offenses, perpetrated by public/private collusion, that occur under-the-radar are vast in number and devastating to those lives its malfeasance touches.

Beware, however, that for the status quo of government secrecy to prevail, our unalienable rights explicitly protected by the Constitution – not granted by it as the media cartel so ardently tries to persuade – must be partially, or in whole, eliminated. Compromising these protected rights into oblivion can only happen if we allow it by buying into this false premise that loss of liberties will provide greater safety.

The notion that we must sacrifice any part of our individual rights for security is pure fiction. Nothing about a police state offers more safety or security. In fact, it does just the opposite, trading justice via due process for certain abuse of power via arbitrary enforcement. Nothing on Earth is more terrifying than this type of government tyranny where no remedy exists.

Never forget that the Fifth Amendment guarantees each of us due process. Without a constitutional amendment, no president, legislator, or judge can lawfully take this away. Yet the USA PATRIOT Act and the National Defense Authorization Act claim the authority to do exactly that. If Americans are unwilling to protect this fundamental right, then we are truly lost.

The recent exposure of secret bipartisan negotiations by high-ranking legislators to exempt all members of Congress and their staffs from the requirements of Obamacare is glaring evidence that these representatives truly consider themselves unaccountable to most of the laws they make for the rest of us. According to Politico.com (RCReader.com/y/obamacare), legislators are concerned that if they and their staffs are not exempted, there will ensue a “brain drain” from DC because staff and aides won’t be able to afford the increased costs that Obamacare imposes! Not only is this rationale an indictment of congressional disassociation, it also makes obvious Congress’ general incompetence for not having read the legislation before it passed.

Do yourself a favor and read the founding documents referenced above. When will you start attending local public-sector meetings and/or volunteering to watchdog the public business/activities of your local governments? Start analyzing and questioning the budgets of the various county and city departments. In this way, we can bring attention to matters that impact us in our own communities. This is the best way to bring accountability to county and city leadership, many of whom are our friends and neighbors, making them easily accessible. Finally, if need be, run for one of the elected offices, even for just one term. At least actively vet and support local candidates who are willing to run. Stop deceiving yourself that “others” will take care of civic problems. They won’t.