We have this document called the Constitution that grants us certain rights, regardless of who we are. You know, like equal protection under the law, even if you are a minority. It's why you can freely practice your religion, vote, and be guaranteed due process under the law. Heck, it's even what allows you to keep a gun. (It's not clear that it allows you to keep a gun without restrictions of any kind, however.)
But today's conservatives seem astonishingly willing to ignore the Constitution. the latest is a demand that the misguided stupid boy with the bomb in Bosston be tried as an "enemy combatant" (or even tortured.) It's stunning that they have such little faith in our legal system, isn't it? I mean, bomber Timothy McVeigh wasn' t tried as an "enemy combatant." Ah, but Timothy McVeigh was "a real American". This isn't about the steady hand of justice. It's about revenge. But mostly, it's about fear.
Michael Tomsky writes,
The common thread through all of this is the conservative need to instill and maintain a level of fear in the populace. They need to make gun owners fear that Dianne Feinstein and her SWAT team are going to come knocking on their doors, or, less amusingly, that they have to be armed to the teeth for that inevitable day when the government declares a police state. They need to whip up fear of immigrants, because unless we do, it’s going to be nothing but terrorists coming through those portals, and for good measure, because, as Ann Coulter and others have recently said, the proposed law would create millions of voting Democrats (gee, I wonder why!).
And with regard to terrorism, they need people to live in fear of the next attack, because fear makes people think about death, and thinking about death makes people more likely to endorse tough-guy, law-and-order, Constitution-shredding actions undertaken on their behalf. ...
Conservatism, I fear (so to speak), can never be cleansed of this need to instill fear. Whether it’s of black people or of street thugs or of immigrants or of terrorists or of jackbooted government agents, it’s how the conservative mind works. I don’t even think it’s always cynical and manipulative; conservatives often do see enemies under every bed. But that doesn’t mean they’re there, and it most definitely doesn’t mean the rest of us ought to make law and policy based on their nightmares.I wish we had real conservatives in politics, not these paranoid hacks. There are substantial, sober arguments to be had about guns, and immigration, and social issues. But we can't have those conversations in a sound-bite world where the Constitution is treated as if it only applies to straight white men of European descent.