Excerpt of How Would A Patriot Act? by Glenn Greenwald
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Chapter 1: American Devolution: 9
One Nation, IndivisibleListening InReining in the PresidentsPattern of
Chapter 2: The Power of One: 38
The King and YooMatter of DecreeThe Case of the "Dirty Bomber"Confessions by WaterboardingTortured Legislation
Chapter 3: "What Can't He Do?": 61
The Weight of the LawIn Defense of the President"A Strong, Robust Executive
Chapter 4: Patriotism Beyond Politics: 72
The Right HooksAll-American BlogosphereRevolutionary WisdomThe Youngstown
Decision"Oppressive and Lawless"
Chapter 5: Fear as a Weapon: 93
Be Very AfraidFreedom FightersLife During WartimeMore Safe, Less Free
Chapter 6: Fate of the Union: 107
The Watergate LessonNothing to Hide?Muzzling the MediaAmerica's Choice
I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
I never voted for George W. Bushor for any of his political opponents.
I believed that voting was not particularly important. Our country, it
seemed to me, was essentially on the right track.Whether Democrats or
Republicans held the White House or the majorities in Congress made
only the most marginal difference. I held views on some matters that could
be defined as conservative, views on others that seemed liberal. But I firmly
believed that our democratic system of government was sufficiently insulated
from any real abuse, by our Constitution and by the checks and balances
afforded by having three separate but equal branches of government.
My primary political belief was that both parties were plagued by
extremists who were equally dangerous and destructive, but that as long
as neither extreme acquired real political power, our system would function
smoothly and more or less tolerably. For that reason, although I
always paid attention to political debates, I was never sufficiently moved
to become engaged in the electoral process. I had great faith in the stability
and resilience of the constitutional republic that the founders created.
All that has changed. Completely. Over the past five years, a creeping
extremism has taken hold of our federal government, and it is threatening
to radically alter our system of government and who we are as a nation.
This extremism is neither conservative nor liberal in nature, but is instead
driven by theories of unlimited presidential power that are wholly alien,
and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country
since its founding.
And the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is
largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongeringfear of terrorists,
specificallymeans that not only our system of government is radically
changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and
what it means to be American.
Our country is at a profound crossroads. We must decide whether we
want to adhere to the values and principles that have made our country
free, strong, and great for the 217 years since our Constitution was ratified,
or whether we will relinquish those values and fundamentally change who
we are, all in the name of seeking protection from terrorism. I genuinely
believe that we are extremely lucky to be the beneficiaries of a system of
government that uniquely protects our individual liberties and allows us
a life free of tyranny and oppression. It is incumbent upon all Americans
who believe in that system, bequeathed to us by the founders, to defend it
when it is under assault and in jeopardy. And today it is.
I did not arrive at these conclusions eagerly or because I was predisposed
by any previous partisan viewpoint. Quite the contrary.
Copyright by Glenn Greenwald. All rights reserved. No part
of this book maybe transmitted in any form by any means without permission in
writing from the publisher, Working Assets Publishing (www.workingassetspublishing.com).