Donna Wiesner Keene

De Tocqueville’s observations of the infant America include exceptionalism of liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez faire. Shorten them into modern terms as the democratic acceptance of rule of law.

Exceptionalism never asserted that Americans were exceptional people – better than the rest of mankind or immune to the laws of nature, compound interest, or the petty bickering of royalty and peasant. Yet rule of law is being undermined as fast as our exponential debt is climbing. In a culture that throws more of its citizens into prison than any other country, with 6000 federal felonies as ways to lose your right to vote and your Second Amendment Right, our judicial system is broken and not stopping crime, the active taunting of rule of law.

The Fourth Amendment (The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated) abandoned Americans with the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. This year, American children become teens never knowing the freedom of travel without an internal passports. As a child we scoffed at any people that would allow internal passports -- the first sing of dictatorship is tracking your opposition in order to destroy them. We knew how badly the Eastern Europeans were treated.

But last year the Congress went farther quickly and swiftly – in the Defense Re-AuthorizationAct, Congress allows Americans on American soil to be treated as enemy combatants under only an accusation of terrorism. The Fifth (nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law) and Sixth (the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation) Amendments fell swiftly.

When the people cried out, Congressmen left and right simply said “the power wasn’t going to be used” or “this isn’t new law.” So now, any dirty cop accusing an enemy of suspected terrorism can haul you or a loved one off to jail without warrant, some level of scrutiny, subpoena, right to seek counsel, right to a speedy trail, informing loved ones of charges – nothing. This isn’t even how enemies should be treated.


Donna Wiesner Keene

Donna Wiesner Keene, a senior fellow at Independent Women's Forum, is CEO of BrainTrain, a business specializing in marketing and communicating political ideas and projects.