Whether directly or tacitly, nations offer signals about their strength, willingness to act, weakness, and appeasement. At the moment the United States is in a state of “preemptive surrender,” a condition manifest by several recent events.
There was a moment after 9/11 when almost all Americans realized what could be lost to an enemy intent on destroying our people and our institutions. As time has passed, so too has much of this sentiment. Americans may be patriotic, but patriotism is generally not in the forefront of their thinking. There are, however, some Americans who consider any form of patriotic expression jingoism or misguided public sentiment.
According to President Obama “Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.” Initially my reaction to his remark is he is playing to his constituents. After all, why not take advantage of the rabble rousing as he has done before. But my acquiescence quickly turned to anger.
President Obama recently noted that “This war, like all wars, must end.” In other words the president is outlining revisions in the legal and moral framework that have guided policies since 2001. Presumably this speech is guided by the president’s belief that we have “turned a corner” in the war with al Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Moreover, the president argued that the 2001 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force adopted after the 9/11 attack should be revised and eventually repealed to recognize the diminished capability of al Qaeda as a terror organization.
The skies over Cairo were filled with celebratory fireworks as Egypt’s military officers removed president Mohammed Morsi, suspended the Islamic Constitution and installed an interim government presided over by a senior jurist. But these fireworks could be succeeded by a series of new fireworks that are distant from celebration.
The word “equality” is woven into the fabric of the nation. Despite the clause in the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s continual efforts to preserve it, most people assume we are born with different endowments, have different temperaments, behave in different ways and, most assuredly, are unequal. In fact, the more we as a nation emphasize individuality, the more likely inequality will result.
Recently the Supreme Court delivered a rebuke to Governor Jan Brewer and the citizens of Arizona arguing in a 7 to 2 majority that the state violated federal law when it added a proof of citizenship requirement to a federal voter registration form almost a decade ago.
According to the majority decision the high court ruled that in areas where Washington holds constitutional authority – as is the case with immigration and the rules for federal elections – states may not override Congressional judgment.
Have we reached a stage in our national development where seriousness on almost any subject is impossible? Examples abound.
Edward Snowden, who leaked National Security Agency surveillance projects to the British Guardian, said, “I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” And he noted, “the public should decide, not the government.”
Washington is the home for rights promoters. Fads of the moment translate into rights with legal justification and a regulatory apparatus attached to them. This is the manner in which government expands without limit. Illustrations abound.