Obama is Grasping the Ring, and He Won’t Let Go
I urge you to read Barack Obama’s statement explaining why he supports H.R. 6304, a bill that authorizes a presidential administration to engage in electronic surveillance of communications as well as physical search of your property, all without so much as a warrant, outside meaningful judicial review. When I read this portion of Obama’s statement:
It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people.
I cannot help but think of Boromir’s grab for power in The Lord of The Rings:
Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need? Wielding it the Free Lords of the Free may surely defeat the Enemy. That is what he most fears, I deem…. Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory!
Every national candidate devotes words to the praise of freedom and liberty, and characterizes the enemy as a foe of freedom and liberty. More, every candidate charges the enemy with the use of physical violence and the legal violence of tyranny to political ends. That is what makes the enemy the enemy. But what if the enemy is us?
In order to wage the struggle against those who would deprive us of our freedom and liberty, in order to defeat the forces of violence and tyranny, Barack Obama has declared his support for legislation that would give him the tools as president to violate Americans’ freedom and liberty — violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which declares no searches shall be carried out except under judicial warrants issued upon the establishment of probable cause. Barack Obama declares he will use warrantless wiretapping and warrantless searches, violating our nation’s constitutional compact, “to protect the lives and the liberty of the American people.” In short, Barack Obama is grasping for the ring, and declares his intention as president to use it.
But the ring is power, and power corrupts. Unchecked power corrupts in an unchecked manner. Four short months ago, Barack Obama declared his intention to support the constitutional system of checks and balances upon all powers, including presidential power. Back then, Obama was but one of many candidates in competition for the right to run for the presidency. But now that his competition has been bested and the presidency is within Barack Obama’s grasp, his old promise to support proper constitutional limits on the power of the presidency is withering. Now that presidential powers are for himself, Barack Obama wants to use them. He tells us, and perhaps he tells himself, that he will use expanded presidential power for good. You see, Barack Obama tells us and perhaps himself, Barack Obama is good, and therefore what Barack Obama does with this newly expanded presidential power will be good. Barack Obama makes a firm pledge that HE will monitor the program, that HE will take any additional steps HE deems necessary to protect us all.
Do you see it in his words? Barack Obama is already intoxicated with the power within his grasp. He is so intoxicated that the former professor of Constitutional Law does not see the arrogant irony in them. Obama will ensure the righteousness of the warrantless wiretapping, using his Obama judgment full of Obamaness to make sure that the process of violating civil liberty in a confidential setting without restraint somehow has honor and integrity, has just purpose, has right on its side. Already, even before winning the White House, Barack Obama has come to see his personal judgment as the best standard by which to decide whether to ravage constitutional, the law and Americans’ privacy. He’s blinded by his own hype. He is so blinded by his own hype that he thinks he is a better judge of his own behavior than the entire federal judiciary. He thinks it is better that for us to trust in him than to trust in the system of oversight set up by the Constitution. He’s drunk on power. And that’s exactly why we need the judiciary. That’s why we need the Constitution. That’s why we need a strong Congress that will defend both. We need a strong Judiciary and a strong Congress and a strong Constitution so that our national integrity can not be made subject to the wisdom or the whims of any one man.
Who have we seen like this before? George W. Bush. Bush told us all in 2000 that he’d be a humble president, a modest president, a president who conciliated, a president who wouldn’t overstep the proper bounds of government. Then he got a taste of power. “Trust me,” he said. “I know best,” he said. And look what happened when Americans gave Bush that trust. Barack Obama is walking down the road previously traveled by George W. Bush, and at a faster pace than Bush walked it, too.
Someone close to Barack Obama needs to pull him away from the crowds and the microphone. Someone close to Obama needs to pull the man aside, give him a slap upside the head and a cold drink of water, then force him to take a long look at himself. If Obama can’t sober himself up, and his party isn’t able or willing to sober him up, then We the People are going to have to take it upon ourselves to stage a little intervention before someone gets hurt.