A friend sent me this link to a minor, if interesting, piece:
"Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed....
DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including US citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism...
We knew it was happening. I'm glad they've finally admitted it. It's a step in the right direction. "Secret laws" are wrong and can too easily become evil. (I do not use the word "evil" lightly.)
The US slipped across a line in the last few years. Once upon a time the Constitution was honored in the breach nearly as much as in the maintenance. You can argue that it even started off that way.
The "line" crossed is that we're no longer even paying lip-service.
R.I.P. The US Bill of Rights. c. 1789 - c. 2004. 215 years isn't a bad run.
One of the reasons I want Obama in office is that, despite the fact he's going to screw me in taxes and probably do significant damage by socializing many private programs (it's a Democratic Party view of life) *and* take my guns, I think McCain will try to go status quo on "civil liberties" (once called "civil rights"). I'm guessing Obama will be the best in that direction, and it *might* be enough to recover. I want the full Latin: "status quo ante bellum". (No, not *that* far ante bellum, for all you Yankee readers reading far too much into this.)
I hope Obama's at least somewhat as idealistic and he wants to appear, and I think it would be good for our next President to be an ex-civil rights lawyer who comes at least partially from a culture on the wrong side of the power base. He's more likely to think about how to limit the power base (not that any politician can be successful without participating in the power base).
McCain comes from a family tradition of trading individual rights for the security of the country (i.e. military service). I think that's beyond a good thing -- that's a noble and laudable tradition. All honor to him. (I say that quite seriously -- no sarcasm at all.). I like the idea of a Commander-in-Chief who's been there making the decisions. He, personally, knows the cost of war better than most anyone else, certainly better than Obama.
Such tradition must, however, influence his thinking. The problem with trading civil rights for security is that civil rights are not our income, they're our capital. What happens when you spend your capital living day to day instead of investing? That's right, eventually you have no capital left to spend and the bills still come in the mail. When you're flush in civil rights, such a trade might be reasonable. When you've built up a deficit you should stop spending -- that applies to civil rights just as much to dollars, and the Bush administration has run up quite a debt in both.
I sure do miss the old Republican Party -- and by that I mean the goals of minimal Government, individual rights and responsibilities and leaving social activism to societies. And yes, I do realize that what I miss is more mythology than history. So what? What's our current mythology?
I just hope our next President keeps the space program going so in a few hundred years people can get the hell out.
And last, I'll offer an apology: I'm currently reading a dystopian post-H5N1/global cooling apocalyptic near-future SciFi novel right now, so perhaps I have an overly pessimistic view of things and certainly an overly cynical one.