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The Destruction of American Exceptionalism

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

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.

What Presidents Clinton and Obama tested and found to be true is that big, big lies are just as easy to get away with as small ones … and although audiences gasp when this provision of actual law is explained to them, life is relatively normal while the government takes over the banks (seen any Wells Fargo signs on your streets?), manufacturing, or all of health care and banking.

While many of us were looking for jobs that won’t come back, we’ve lost our right to protest – unless we join OWS. Occupy Wall Street takes over public parks at will and even with government oversight hearings on the Hill, remains while the rats multiply so fast they are seen in huge numbers in broad daylight. McPherson Square in the heart of Washington has unoccupied tents all day and night – but from 5:00 to 6:00 pm they (the protestors, not just the rats) gather to allow film crews to catch them. The $500,000 stimulus upgrades in the park are gone. Public opinion finally forced the Department of Interior to act, the park has to be closed for two months to repair the damage. OWS protests in favor of class warfare – Tea Party groups were never looked upon as favorably.

Stalin and the Soviets may have wanted to redefine Americans as wealthier, more gifted of natural resources, but even as the Soviets whose one aging ruler after another who died of old age or mysterious causes in the 1980s, the Soviets grudgingly marveled at our two-party system and actual laws people agreed to follow en mass. Obama redefines exceptionalism in the mode of the French Revolution and Stalin, that class distinction and equality-inequality are the source of our problems. In the face of our loss of Constitutionalism, let’s blame the rich. Turning the truth on its head is exactly how socialism/Communism came to and maintained its power.

Many say this year’s elections are the turning point as we wade out of the mire of debt (it won’t be fun) or simply give up and keep on our spending mania. Conservatives have been asking us to mend our ways and avoid this turning point for five decades, and the majorities in both parties have ignored them. In this way, the Tea Party is more correct than ever – follow the Constitution. Maybe it’s time to listen.

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