Innocent Until Proven Guilty…. Or Is It The Other Way Around??

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Be forewarned that I am getting on my soapbox now.

ConstitutionI know there are numerous times in our history where civil liberties have been severely threatened. Various groups and individuals have been attacked by our government without due process. One glaring recent example is putting Japanese-Americans in prison camps during World War II simply because of their heritage. But it seems like this is almost becoming common place in our country today.  Mr. Obama’s kill list is one example.  It sounds as if one or two high-ranking officials think that any person, including a U.S. citizen, is a threat to our country they can ask the president to take them out via a drone attack and surprisingly he is reported to often make that call. I don’t think, or at least I pray, that they don’t do that while the person is on U.S. soil yet but then of course since the process is so secretive we have no way of even knowing that.

And then there are guys like Chris Kyle who we know had assassinated over 180 people on orders from military or other government officials. Now don’t get me wrong here, I imagine that most of these people on these kill lists were “bad guys” who the world is better off without but are we really sure that some were not innocent of these cloaked charges against them?  Were they killed by bullet or bomb before they were really proven guilty? They certainly did not get a judge or a jury.  I can’t help but think that if George Bush had the same policies on drone attacks as President Obama the Democrats would be screaming right now but the current silence on this topic is deafening (and I know what I am talking about in that area).

I’m probably be in the minority (wouldn’t be the first time) here but I believe we must protect our civil liberties at all costs and that even includes letting some bad guys live another day. That is what makes us a stand out country in the world.  The idea of “Innocent until proven guilty” has a long history in our country. I also hope that we don’t believe that civil liberties are an exclusive property of U.S. citizens and shouldn’t apply to people in the rest of the world.

Are we headed toward a time when our civil rights are at serious risk yet again? The right to vote is one of the most basic forms of civil rights. Until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 African-Americans were basically denied that right by one scheme or another throughout the South. That basic right seems under attack once again in some Republican controlled States including Ohio and Florida.  Some also say our right to bear arms is under attack.

We must always do whatever is necessary to protect the civil rights of all our citizens and to make sure the principle itself is propagated throughout the world. Our founding fathers believed that if necessary eleven guilty men should be freed in order to insure one innocent person was not punished.  These “kill lists” without any check and balances even though they are not being issued on U.S. soil (or at least I pray they aren’t) are a definite threat to all our civil liberties.   I am totally disappointed that President Obama is apparently signing off on assassinations without due process. I expected better from him.

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