Tonight President Obama wants to promote his legislative agenda in his State of the Union Address. He wants to talk about the union as he wishes it were instead of as it really is. But will Americans stand for more platitudes when we live in a union where our lives and our rights are under threat every day from a government whose draconian policies are increasingly outrageous?
The President certainly does not want to make it the focus of his speech, but when your White House spokesman has stated on your behalf that it is “legal, ethical and wise” to kill American citizens without due process on nothing more than suspicion of terrorism, some sort of explanation of that position by the President should be the first imperative of the State of the Union address. If President Obama does not have enough respect for the people or the rule of law to issue a repudiation and an apology, then at the very least a detailed explanation and defense of such an unamerican policy would seem essential.
This State of the Union Address should not be an opportunity for a failed president to promote more fiscally irresponsible policies. It ought to be a humbling moment in which he is called before Congress to be held to account for his actions, especially his attack on the rule of law and the liberty and safety of our citizens. If Congress had a spine to share between the lot of them this would be a trial, not a speech.
There is no justification for even listening to anything the President has to say until he explains why he believes that American citizens can be murdered for nothing more than the convenience of government bureaucrats,. Apparently with the army of lawyers and investigators in the Department of Homeland Security, it is too much of a challenge to assemble evidence, file charges and hold a hearing even when the lives of US citizens are at stake. Perhaps they are too busy shredding copies of the Bill of Rights to take the time to do their jobs properly.
There is no threat to the safety of the nation and its people which justifies a broad policy of sanctioning assassination. Beginning with President Ford in 1976 every president has issued an executive order banning the use of assassination. President Obama has not issued an order reversing this long tradition. Even if you accept the dubious claim that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that started the War on Terror is still valid, US military law specifically limits killing to situations of military necessity or to protect lives, and forbids the targeting of civilians. Further, under Article 1, Section 8.11 of the Constitution the authority to order an assassination or similar action is clearly reserved to Congress and not among the powers of the president. These restrictions apply to foreign citizens and should be observed even more strictly when US citizens are involved, as they should also be protected by the right of habeas corpus and the guarantees of the Bill of Rights.
The union is imperiled for many reasons and the tragedy of our age is that most of those threats now seem to originate in our own government and President Obama is the one of the chief authors of the policies which have put our nation in peril. He needs to be held accountable for the gross malfeasance of his administration and his own betrayal of his oath of office. The drone issue is just the latest of a long series of civil liberties abuses by this administration, but it must be addressed and repudiated or there should be serious talk of impeachment.
Tonight President Obama probably will not even speak the word “drone” hours after issuing the first authority for the assassination of a US citizen by drone within our borders. He will stick to fantasy plans and proposals and happy talk about his next union bailout or pet project to satisfy special interests.
I wish we had a Congress which demanded a dialog rather than passively accepting another empty speech. We’re past the point of politeness. I wish our representatives were like the British Parliament where members stand up and challenge their leaders. It would be refreshing and reassuring if one of our representatives – a Rand Paul or a Steve Stockmnan – were to stand up and look Obama in the eye and shout “shame” to demand an accounting for his abuses of power.