“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”
— President Barack Obama
While President Obama used the right words in this quote, he clearly is taking the public for idiots.
Because as he surely is aware, we do have some big problems. They are not caused by misguided citizens who foolishly mistrust their government, though. Rather, our problems stem from the fact that our leaders, including him, have consistently lied to us, been corrupted by big money and have acted to benefit corporate interests to the detriment of the commonweal.
On March 12 of this year, when Obama’s National Intelligence Director James Clapper told a congressional inquiry that the government does not wittingly conduct surveillance of Americans, he was lying. He was deliberately deceiving the very people upon whom we’re told to rely to exercise oversight and safeguard our rights. When caught out in his lie by the disclosures of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Clapper additted his prevarications, saying he had tried to give “the least untrue answer” he could come up with.
Obama himself too, subsequent to Snowden’s disclosures of the NSA’s nationwide vacuuming up of all electronic communications of all Americans, has radically changed his tune about the surveillance techniques which he criticized under President Bush but has now embraced fully.
At this point, when it comes to our elected and appointed leaders, we can trust only that their words are untrustworthy.
Trust Congress? Venal, corrupted, pawns of their powerful financial contributors, feckless posturing maintainers of the status quo; not too much to trust there.
How about the courts? How much trust can we gin up for the brilliant black robed justices who have anointed corporations with personhood? When they go duck hunting with a torture advocating Vice President one day, and rule on the constitutionality of his draconian national security laws the next, how much trust do they inspire?
No Mr. President, the problem is not with us, it is squarely with you and the National Security State that preceded you and that you have continued to further expand and empower.
Over the past few weeks your security apologists have been wagging their tongues about all of the terrorist acts that they claim have been thwarted by this unconstitutional eavesdropping, but they all seem to have forgotten something: nobody ever gave your or any other administration permission to trade in our Constitution in exchange for a supposedly safe and secure “homeland”.
In fact, if it were not for successive U.S. administrations’ policies that have helped tyrants oppress their citizens, if it were not for our aggressive and destructive military adventures throughout the world, we would not be facing the level of terrorist threats that we have today. Terrorism is not some mysterious, misguided and undecipherable phenomenon. It is a direct response to American foreign policies that alienate and enrage those whom it affects.
So first you ignore the interests of the American people in order to serve the interests of the corporate and financial titans. Then, when the chickens start coming home to roost, you use that as an excuse to create a national security state where we’re all supposed to accept the loss of privacy and live under full-time surveillance as if it were all natural and nothing to worry about.
Despite your consistent record of lies and deception, we are now being asked to trust you and your farcical system of “checks and balances” that don’t even permit access to the information that it’s supposed to checking and balancing–that in fact criminalize the act of disclosing such information.
So one of the president’s trust problems seems to be showing up as a streak of anarchy. Private Bradley Manning, faced with evidence of horrific war crimes being ignored, took matters into his own hands and gave WikiLeaks documents to shed light on the criminal and unconstitutional actions. Analyst Edward Snowden, upon learning of the massive unconstitutional surveillance that the government is now conducting, decided to take matters into his own hands and shared that information with the Guardian and the Washington Post. As he has continued to elude capture, the government has launched a full-scale attack on his credibility and is working desperately to cast him as a traitor and a national security threat. The corporate media dutifully frame their coverage accordingly, but the verdict is still out on whether the American people will see his act as heroic or treacherous. (Even some who say they think he should be tried also say they think he did a good thing in releasing the secret information about the NSA spying program.)
When we can no longer trust the chain of command, our elected representatives in Congress or even the judicial system to honor the Constitution when faced with the pressures from the National Security Apparatus, then we simply have to trust our own instincts to do what is best and what is just for the continuance of our Republic and our Constitutionally protected freedoms.
Manning and Snowden will not be the last patriots to speak out about government overreach and unconstitutional actions. Others will surely follow, because American myths about the rule of law and right independent action by an informed citizenry run deep in our national consciousness.
As much as we’ve been beaten down by mindless media entertainment, commercialism and deceptive propaganda, there are still many of us who will recognize theats to our Constitution and Republic when they arise and we will continue to blow the whistle or expose the fraud. Non-compliance, non-cooperation, any number of trends will be emerging in response to this all-out campaign to shove the security state down our throats.
DAN DeWALT is an activist and journalist based in New Fane, VT. He wrote this article exclusively for ThisCantBeHappening! He can be reached at PatriotResponse@yahoo.com