Friday, January 23, 2009

“…an extraordinary day for civil liberties and our country”

Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote the above email yesterday in regard to four actions taken by President Obama on Thursday:

With four executive orders today, our new President:

  • Ordered Guantánamo Bay shut down
  • Banned torture
  • Ordered a full review of U.S. detention policies and procedures, and
  • Delayed the trial of Ali al-Marri, an ACLU client whose case is at the center of the Supreme Court’s review of indefinite detention policies

Personally, I had hoped that President Obama would take swift action to bring back into balance the civil liberties and human rights trampled on by the Bush administration over the past eight years. I did not, however, think that he would act so swiftly and directly!

As a “card carrying member” of the ACLU—a “Pinko” or even a “Commie” to some of my right-wing acquaintances—the chipping away at the civil and human rights so zealously guarded by those who wrote the Constitution of the United States by the previous administration has struck me as if I was being philosophically and emotionally scourged with a fascist cat-o-nine-tails.

There were times since the passing of The Patriot Act that I felt that I was living in Germany of 1935 when the Nürnberger Gesetze were passed. As I began to understand the significance and injustice of The Patriot Act as well as numerous Presidental Executive Orders, I began to speculate on the impending termination of justice, freedom, and liberty in the United States.  I perceived myself to be more than helpless as I remembered the words of German theologian and pastor, Martin Niemöller:

In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me — and by that time, there was no one left to speak up.

When I received yesterday’s email from Anthony D. Romero, I suddenly felt a great weight being lifted from me. A balm of healing has been placed on my own wounds and those suffered by our nation and the Constitution caused by that imaginary fascist cat-o-nine-tails. Freedom and justice are returning to the United States of America!

So I responded to Mr. Romero’s suggestion that we thank President Obama for his swift and just actions. I joined numerous others in signing the following and emailing to our new President:

Thank you for taking decisive action on civil liberties—issuing four executive orders to close Guantánamo, end the military commissions, ban torture and delay the al-Marri trial. I am proud that in your first 48 hours in office you are beginning to free America from the civil liberties outrages and human rights abuses of the Bush era. I promise you my support as you continue to take actions to renew American justice and look forward to your next steps towards ending this national shame and restoring America's moral leadership in the world.

You, too, may join in the thank you to President Obama by clicking HERE.

Please Note: You do not have to be a citizen of the United States to join in the Thank You to President Obama. His actions impact more than us Americans!


We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States of America  

If I had a Hammer ~ Pete Seeger 


  1. Nice blog & nice post...
    Anyway... are you care for exchange link?? just add & leave a message on my post if you interested...

    Have a great day! ^_^

  2. Isn't it just wonderful, Nick? At long last, a humanitarian in the White House. God bless America and God bless this world.

  3. I just sent my letter. Thanks for posting that. I hope he continues to restore our Civil Liberties that were taken away in the Patriot Act.

  4. I'm glad he did those things, but it makes me angry that he had to.

    "Stop doing bad stuff" was a good step one. Now we need to move on to step two: "Start doing good stuff."

  5. His swift action on Day One sent a swift message to the world.

    There is something waiting for you at the castle. Knock and enter to receive.
    The Premio Dardos Award and Seven Men of Integrity

  6. Yes. A weight lifted. I felt it, too. I am SO grateful.

  7. Fantastic that President Obama begins with acts of justice and compassion

  8. Good for Obama and good for you Nick.

    Well written.



  9. It was wonderful that Obama did so much so quickly. I thought Tuesday was an amazing day.

  10. Don't forget the Mexico City Policy he passed quietly the following evening...
    Also, just to let you know that the Nazis were leftists, not on the right that is popularly percieved today. Honestly, I've heard of percieved injustices under the Bush Administration before, but I honestly did not see this at all. What freedoms did we loose? The Patriot Act was simply for protection from terrorists. For all the attacks Bush has been given I can say one thing, he kept his word when he said there would be no more terrorist attacks on American soil after 9/11. I just had to put that in.

  11. I too am so glad President Obama is doing all these things - it is like a breath of fresh air. I think I didn't even realize how oppressive the mere existence of the Bush administration was for the last 8 years, no matter how I complained about them - I feel as if a great weight has been lifted.

  12. This is excellent, Nick. I am sorry that I didn't read it when you first published it.