Lieberman Strips Citizenship from Tea Party
Senator Joe Lieberman is sponsoring a bill to allow the government to take away a person’s United States citizenship, without due process, if they are suspected of being a terrorist. While that might sound like a good idea, you should be raising huge STOP signs. What could be the implications in this law?
As it is currently being interpreted, there is a law on the books used in military situations when a United States citizen starts fighting with the enemy. Lieberman wants to expand this law to include those that are suspected terrorists. There would be little question in the case of military action what transpired, especially when someone puts on the enemy’s military uniform. But what about non-military action? While we all hate the actions of terrorists, what if that terrorist is a U.S. citizen? Do we really have the right to remove his/her constitutional rights? Doesn’t every citizen of the United States have protection under the constitution and therefore the right to due process?
I read a report issued by the Department of Homeland security last fall “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. In this report the DHS was classifying returning military as potential recruits and tea party supporters as rightwing extremists. These are our military men and women, out on the front lines, and DHS issues a report stating they might be recruited or could be rightwing extremists. The tea party patriots, peacefully voicing their opposition about Obamacare and the direction this country is moving, the DHS includes in this same report that they may be rightwing extremists. Anyone and everyone who voices their opinion against the policies and direction this country is currently moving or is in favor of adhering to the United States constitution could be considered a suspected rightwing extremist.
The closest definition of a rightwing extremist in the DHS report is this troubling description: “Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Even Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, had some issues with this report. On April 14, 2009, he submitted a letter to Janet Napolitano about the report, voicing his concerns that, “This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans – including war veterans.” It goes on to say “As I am certain you agree, freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed to all Americans – whether a person’s beliefs, whatever their political orientation, are “extremist” or not.” He continues, “Unfortunately, this reports appears to have blurred the line between violent belief, which is Constitutionally protected, and violent action, which is not.”
People of the United States have the right to speak up – it is a right protected under the constitution in the first amendment. People will always have opposing views, and that is what makes this country so great. But voicing an opinion or view that is not in agreement with the current administration does not make you a suspected terrorist or rightwing extremist. Believing in our constitution and expecting our elected official to following that constitution and honor the oath they took when taking office does not make you a suspected terrorist. If that were the case then pretty much everyone in the past 50 years could be classified as a suspected terrorist.
This over-reaching administration seems to believe they are immune to the laws of this country and can do whatever they want to attain their goals. While no one would condone using violence as a means to express ones opposition to any issue, you have to protect the rights of everyone, including those that may use violence, under the constitution. Their actions should not go unpunished, but it should be done so in the legal manner under the law.
So before you go supporting a law that strips citizenship from a suspected terrorist, think again. The next terrorist might be you!
http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf – DHS Report on Rightwing Extremist
http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20090415122314-66614.pdf – Bennie Thompson’s Letter