Once upon a time America lived under the threat of international Communism.
Evil men used that threat to strip their fellow citizens of their constitutionally protected rights.
Today we live under a new threat… and there are new evil men.
Sixty years ago Democratic Party Senator John McClellan schooled his colleagues about due process and the rule of law. The venue was the McCarthy hearings.
Senator Steve Sweeney has obviously forgotten the lesson.
As Senate President, Sweeney pushed through legislation that strips people of their civil rights simply because they have been placed on a government “watch list”.
Senator Sweeney says that these citizens are not entitled to their rights and, like the evil men of yesteryear, Sweeney uses an external “threat” as his trumps-all reason. Instead of international Communism, Sweeney brandishes international “terrorism”.
The media shouldn’t let Senator Sweeney get away with it. They should remember the words of Edward R. Murrow spoken over a national CBS television broadcast on March 9, 1954:
“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”
And just who makes it onto Senator Sweeney’s list of those undeserving of civil rights?
Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was on Sweeney’s list – courtesy of an evil apartheid regime – and he remained so until public pressure forced our government to take him off the list. Civil rights campaigner Congressman John Lewis was on Sweeney’s list too, a carry-over from the FBI’s list of “subversives”. All kinds of innocent men, women, and little children are on Sweeney’s list.
Now Senator Sweeney is engaged in a smear campaign against those who stand up for the rights of their fellow Americans. In language borrowed from Senator McCarthy, Sweeney calls them extremists.
It was not long ago that Senator Sweeney co-chaired the state’s gun caucus, but as with same-sex marriage, Sweeney flipped his position to appeal to those who write the checks to fund his party’s campaign accounts. Big out of state interests with fat checks have trumped the average men and women who voted for Senator Sweeney.
Senator Sweeney is a sell-out. That is common with venial politicians. But Sweeney went too far when he stripped innocent people of their civil rights.
As Senator McClellan said 60 years ago, “That is the evil of it.”