Sunday, April 17, 2005

NELLIE AT DANCING WITH DERRIDA has posted the Bill of Rights on her blog, as a reminder to those who have forgotten, or who never knew, what "Americanism" actually means. Notice that nowhere in those 10 amendments does the word "citizen" appear. The right to speak freely, even if what you have to say is unpopular or critical of the government; the right to worship or not worship as you choose; the right to be free from government endorsements of religion; the right to petition the government and to demonstrate in public; the right to a speedy and fair trial; the right to be free and secure in your person and home, unless the government shows probable cause to be issued a search warrant; the right not to be tried twice for the same crime; the right to an attorney; the right not to be forced to testify against yourself; the right not to have your property, your life, or your freedom taken away from you without due process; the right to know what crimes you are charged with if arrested and detained; the right to see and face your accusers; the right to see the evidence against you; the right to have witnesses who will testify in your behalf; the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishments: ALL of these rights are given to "the people" or to "the accused." None of them are reserved exclusively for citizens.

There is no way that a rational or fair-minded person could read these guarantees of freedom and deny that the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, the C.I.A.'s renditions program, and the way detainees in the "war on terror" have been treated violate almost every one of them. It is clear as Waterford crystal that the Bush administration declared war on the U.S. Constitution beginning on September 12, 2001; and has been tearing the pieces into smaller pieces ever since.

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