“But due process is what’s killing us now.”
—- Democratic Senator Joe Manshin, of West Virginia, on MSNBC bemoaning the fact that the government can’t take away your rights based on “suspicion.”
Naturally, nobody on the network immediately responded, “WHAT???” I wonder if there are any broadcast journalists who would have challenged that crypto-fascist statement by a U.S. Senator. Think about that for a minute.
“The problem we have and really the firewall that we have right now is due process. It’s all due process. So we can all say, yeah, we want the same thing but how do we get there?” If a person is on the terrorist watch list like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando, he was twice by the FBI, we were briefed yesterday about what happened, but that man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do, but there was no way for them to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun buy list. There was no way to do that. So can’t we say that if a person’s under suspicion, there should be a five-year period of time of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits, maybe we can come to that type of an agreement? But due process is what’s killing us now.”
1. Due process is not a “problem.” Due process is what makes the United States a democracy rather than a police state.
2. Elected officials who don’t embrace due process should not be elected officials, for they are incompetent and untrustworthy.
3. Among those whose statements of late suggest that they do NOT embrace due process are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, alleged Constitutional scholar Barack Obama, and a disturbing number of Democratic members of Congress and members of the Democratic Party.
4. What Manshin is saying, for those paying attention or capable of critical thinking, is that he would like the government to be able, without being challenged or forced to prove a thing before an objective arbiter, to designate you as a person under suspicion, and by doing so be able to restrict your rights or remove them entirely for five years.
5. Do not do anything but point, laugh and deride the fool who says, “But just gun rights! Only gun rights!” If this can be done to one right, it can be done to any rights. The same argument can and will be made regarding free speech, and the right not to be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures.
6. While the low-IQ hard right is currently tilting toward totalitarianism (that is, Trump supporters), it is the mainstream of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party that is finding the Constitution, written as a bulwark of individual liberty and autonomy against the inherent untrustworthy nature of government power, a “problem.” Be afraid. Be very afraid.
7. Please notice that so far, Manshin’s remarks are only being publicized and challenged by conservative websites and publications. Let me be clearer: a sitting Democratic Senator states on TV that due process is a problem, and only conservative outlets see anything wrong with that sentiment. Let me be clearer still: The mainstream news media is biased, partisan, ignorant, and a disgrace to journalism. The news media, which owes its existence to the Bill of Rights, should be unanimously publicizing Manshin’s idiocy and explaining why it is anti-democratic.
8. Allow me to now defer to lawyer/scholar/author Illya Shapiro, who reacted to Manshin’s statement thusly:
“With all due respect, due process is the essential basis of America. The Constitution was established to “secure the blessings of liberty”—that’s the whole purpose of our government—and that government can’t deny us our life, liberty, or property without due process of law. If the government wants to deny someone’s liberty, it better have an awfully good reason and it better be ready to defend itself in court immediately—akin to what happens when someone is arrested or involuntarily committed. Otherwise, we’d live in a world where perhaps there’s less crime, but also life isn’t worth living.
Senator Manchin may want to live in a police state, but few of us would want to join him there. Count me out of the time machine to East Germany.”