Jaywalking: Winter worries

John Walker
Opinion Editor

The winter is here, along with the end of the Fall semester, and I find myself not having much to write about. In this time of giving and family I find myself conflicted. On one hand I want to enjoy the season and take part in all of the activities it has to offer. A good hike in the snow or reading by the fireplace at home are the most pleasing activities on my break.

But it is hard to enjoy these activities at times of discomfort. This week the United States Senate passed a measure giving the military police-like powers inside our own country.

Democracy Now reported Wednesday “The Senate has advanced a controversial measure that would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect without charge or trial anywhere in the world, including the United States. The provision is attached to a large military spending bill that’s before the Senate this week.”

We are entering a phase of pro-militarization of our country’s domestic policy. This path is a dangerous one and if left unchecked will lead to a very different America, one where civilians are their own worst enemy. David Pizzo, associate history professor, said this legislation comes without precedent and is very dangerous territory.

“Critics fear the act would severely disrupt current efforts by domestic law enforcement, and it remains to be seen what this sort of “militarization” of internal security will mean for civil-military relations,” Pizzo said. “Even if the act does not pass, it indicates the growing polarization of politicians’ and ordinary citizens’ views on what are and what are not legitimate means to combat “terror” in the 21st century.”

And there is a good chance this act will not pass, considering President Barack Obama’s promise to veto the entire bill if this measure is included.

Whether or not the bill passes, it is cause for alarm on both sides of the aisle. This is not a debate on what economic model the country should be pursuing; it is a pre-emptive strike on the safety of the American public by its own government. Adherents on the left and right of the political spectrum should be linking arms against this draconian plan.

The idea of being detained indefinitely with my constitutional rights suspended is not only frightening; it’s enough to make me appreciate George Orwell. So when proponents of this bill tell their constituents they must be protected from their potential, future terrorist self, our only response should be to vote them out of office.

It may seem like a lot of work, but if filling in a few square boxes is what keeps me from sitting in a concrete cell for the rest of my life, I think it might well be worth the effort.

Contact Walker at john.walker@ murraystate.edu.