Extremism in Defense of Liberty

I guess it had to happen: as the right wing of the Republican party moved further and further to the right, they have finally come around to meet me on the left!  Yesterday I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio (don’t ask!) and I agreed with what he was saying.  Senator Cruz of Texas, generally agreed to be the furthest right senator in Washington, had been questioning the Attorney General about the ability of the President to order a drone strike on an American citizen on American soil, and the AG couldn’t give him a straight answer.  Limbaugh was outraged.  So am I. Last night Senator Rand Paul of Tennessee, barely a  Republican at all, uncorked a filibuster to block the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA to highlight the same issue.  The Constitution provides what the Declaration of Independence called “certain unalienable rights” and it does not give the President power to act as judge, jury, and executioner in depriving a citizen of those rights.  Why is this even an issue?  If extremists of any stripe have us so terrified  that we are willing to give up our fundamental freedoms to deal with them, then they have already won.   Senator Goldwater had it right years go when he said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”  Some of us extremists need to let our representatives in Washington know that government in a democracy is a limited government.  No officer of the government ever has a right to ignore the restraints and limits that are in place to protect us from our government because no human creation is free of the fundamental human flaw called sin.  We are all too easily able to persuade ourselves of the purity of our own motives but someone else needs to be able to say “No” and we need to be willing – indeed compelled – to listen.

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