Is it just me or do secret courts, secret laws, secret legal rationales, secret gag orders, those sorts of things, seem totally contrary to our American idea of democracy?
Growing up I was taught that our government was one of, by, and for the people. I was taught that it’s practically my patriotic duty to vote and to speak my mind. I was taught that the United States of America was the world’s great melting pot, the land of freedom and opportunity, a great democratic, meritocratic powerhouse where the doors were open to any and all that respected our laws and valued our values. I was made to think that our government was in place to encourage life, maintain liberty, and facilitate the pursuit of happiness. We were, after all, the greatest country on Earth.
But right now I feel lied to and I feel betrayed. And I feel this way more than ever. It seems that every day there’s a new story that increases that feeling of being and of having been betrayed by the government I once thought was so great. And the worst part about this ever-increasing sense of betrayal is that there’s no indication that things will change. It seems, more and more every day, that the people comprising our government are happy to tax us but aren’t very interested in representing us.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but we’re not ruled by the exceptions. We’re ruled by secret laws passed in secret courts, told we must not speak about those laws, laws so secret that we won’t even be given their reason. We’re ruled by fear.
If we define democracy as government of, by, and for the people, we must recognize that secret courts and secret laws are inconsistent with and act contrary to democratic government. And if we define American as a person or an agency that values life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that works to encourage, maintain, and facilitate those values both for oneself and for one’s country, then we are being ruled by an increasingly un-American government.
I want to live governed by the American democracy that I thought we had when I was young, or at least some reasonable semblance of it. It seems so simple. Can we petition the White House to stop ruining everything?