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Thursday, June 13, 2024
NEWS  |  CAMPUS

Obama-approved NDAA could be start of dangerous trend in national laws

I’m tired of people telling me Obama is a good guy.

“Brandon, he’s one of us. He was raised by a single mother. He inhaled!”

Obama is not a good guy, and having inhaled doesn’t change it.

Last week, the president signed the renewed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the notorious legislation that allows for the indefinite detainment of American citizens without trial, making it legal for 2013.

Think about that for a moment. Think about the implications of such powers.

If the president wanted to take you in, he could do it, and you might never have a day in court. You would be in confinement until he decided to let you go.

This is an egregious breach of fundamental liberty. This is the box of matches that can torch any rights we thought we had. It sounds like a scene in some dystopian novel, but it’s not fiction. It’s real, and it’s scary.

“But Brandon, he’s only using it against the guys who are trying to kill us.”

That doesn’t much matter. Nobody should have such power for any reason. I am a natural-born citizen of this country. I have a right to a trial, and the same goes for every citizen.

Every citizen is due a day in court — even those who are trying to kill us. There is no great impediment to the control and stopping of terrorism caused by courtrooms. The alternative, however, is just as potentially destructive and menacing as any terrorism.

In any case, we would never know whether the power was being used with discretion if there were no trial to speak of. Even if the president were using the power wisely, there is no guarantee that this power wouldn’t be misused someday in the future by other leaders.

The president isn’t the only reprobate in this story. We also have our congressmen and congresswomen to hold accountable.

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UF graduate Corrine Brown of “go gata” fame voted to have this legislation renewed, along with several other members of Florida congress.

Our congressman, Cliff Stearns, abstained from voting on the 2013 NDAA. Senator Bill Nelson voted against the legislation, but Senator Marco Rubio voted to pass it.

I urge you to call your congressmen and senators if they voted in favor of the NDAA. Call their offices, and tell them you don’t like what they did.

Then, when elections come up again, vote them out of office. We need to get rid of them. We can’t have people with such dangerous ideas running the country.

One of the saddest parts about all of this is that too many of us have no idea any of this happened. The NDAA passed with little fanfare from the news outlets.

It seems like a deception took place to renew NDAA amid all of the “fiscal cliff” circus that played out on the news. Like a magician performing a slight-of-hand trick, the big wigs directed our attention at one thing and quietly did something else while we were distracted.

I don’t understand how any sane person who is at all concerned with his or her own safety, or the safety of the public at large, could convince themselves that it’s OK that many of the most powerful people in the country think destroying habeas corpus is good for us.

If we don’t stop them in their tracks now, the next bill of this kind to be proposed will be a little worse, and the one after that worse still.

Obama has already assassinated an American citizen once before. Will the next step be to make such assassinations legal?

We can’t just sit back on this one. This one is bad. This one is where we have to draw the line.

Brandon Lee Gagne is an anthropology senior at UF. His column runs on Fridays. You can contact him via opinions@alligator.org.

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