These colors ARE running

There's been a lot of tough talk since Dear Leader took office five years ago, rising to a crescendo whenever the administration's policies border on the immoral or illegal.

Like now, for example.

One of the most essential, and most beautiful, elements of the United States Constitution is this: it seeks to balance the tension between protecting the individual against the tyranny of government while simultaneously ensuring that that government works to better the lives of its citizens. On the whole, of course.

So is it all that tough to wave the power of the world's mightiest military only to cut and run from the Constitution? The rhetoric nearly always hinges on fear: we don't want to see a mushroom cloud... fight them over there so we don't fight them over here... Do whatever is necessary to protect the American people against a grave and gathering threat...

Does this really adhere to our notion of toughness? Of course not. Quite the opposite. As author Glenn Smith put it:

"Only cowards skulk about spying on their neighbors. Only cowards torture innocents. Only cowards give up on the search for Osama. Only cowards lie to those who elect them. Only cowards send others to war when they themselves are afraid to serve."
Glenn Greenwald nailed the administration's weakness when he wrote:
"Of course [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales begins his Opening Statement by quoting Osama bin Laden and Zawahri. We used to quote Madison, Jefferson and Lincoln to decide what the principles of our Government are going to be. Now we quote Al Qaeda. The Administration wants Al Qaeda and its speeches to dictate the type of Government we have. It is the centerpiece of everything they do and say."
Tough is the ability to mirror that marvelous Constitutional tension that balances the founding ideals with the mandate to protect. Or, to quote the Bible: For what does a man profit, if he should gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?

That great false duality, The Civil Liberties vs. National Security debate, isn't, in any case, about balancing some flowery pop-song ideal with the threat of death, it's the reason for protecting our country. It is the country.

Running from the Constitution in fear, crafting every policy based on threats and breaking the law to deal with them is weak. As Cenk Uygur put it recently, "My understanding was that these colors don't run."

An administration willing to sacrifice anything at the cost of the nation's soul? That, my friends, is the very definition of cowardice.

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