Bush, Obama, and civil liberties

Apr 22, 2009 • Karen

I support quite a few of Obama's policies and decisions thus far in his administration. However, when it comes to the future of civil liberties in America, Obama's tenure makes me MORE worried than I was under Bush.

Yes, you read that right.

I didn't look at immigration websites during the last eight years. I figured sooner or later the madness had to end. But now I find myself semi-seriously considering attending school in Canada and/or positioning myself for a career that could potentially take me to continental Europe. (NOT the UK; that island has been positively hurdling toward fascism over the last eight years. Frickin' "New Labour.")

Why? Obama's DOJ is making the same--if not worse--arguments for expansive executive power. We're still being wiretapped--and Obama voted for immunity. Sure, Obama may use these powers more responsibly. And stopping torturing people and giving the folks in Gitmo trials are good things to do. But if the powers to wiretap and deny judicial scrutiny over any rights violation with the scantest of national security claims aren't dismantled, it doesn't MATTER if Obama never uses them. They'll still be there when future, potentially crazy/intolerant/power-hungry presidents come in.

If we can't get rid of the big red authoritarianism button now, with this administration, it will never go away. And that scares the shit out of me.