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GUEST COMMENTARY: Rule of Law Fosters Freedom

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February 8, 2012 by wcobserver

The 21st century, like the 18th century, is a time to try America’s soul. Blatantly unconstitutional “security” laws have been passed, giving the Executive Office power to arrest on a whim; detain indefinitely on a whim; deny trials on a whim. America has been here before.

The 1770s were times that tried America’s soul. American “insurgents” held out against the British Army and Navy until Ben Franklin convinced the French (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) to aid us with their professional army and navy. Together, we defeated British tyranny. Our founders so hated executives that from 1776 until 1787, we did without one. That didn’t work, so they wrote “Rule of Law” into a Constitution. America was a “Rule of Law” nation, firmly rejecting “Rule of Man.”

We again, 225 years after our Constitution was written, live in Rule of Man — times that try our American soul. Our previous executive took a police issue (mass murder by a small group of religious wackos) and started a war, claimed powers supposedly granted by his war to extort legislation granting him more powers and used unconstitutional “signing statements” to disobey any law he didn’t like. The current executive maintains those unconstitutional powers and has signed a few more.

The President now has, via laws approved by a patriotic but apparently illiterate Congress, the powers of a king or dictator. HE tracks anyone’s phone calls, emails, snail mail, financial statements, library records – without cause

or warrant. HE sends the states’ National Guard (and equipment) as well as U.S. military wherever he wants, whenever he wants, for however long he wants. HE defines terrorism, “assisting terrorism,” torture. HE sends our military to “police” American citizens at home. HE decides who gets real trials, kangaroo courts, locked away with no hearing at all. The Rule of Law is dead or at least on life support.

To free America without another, bloodier, revolution Americans must email, march, “occupy,” and vote to convince Congress – the entire Congress – to pass veto-proof legislation repealing the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, the martial law riders added to various defense bud- gets, and all the rest of the unconstitutional but now legal executive powers. To truly be a free county, America must win through this trial of our souls, and bring back Rule of Law.

Barbara Fitzpatrick is the Washing- ton County Justice of the Peace serving District 8. She lives in Fayetteville and is a Democrat.

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