A few weeks back, I signed a petition from a link on facebook in regards to the National Defense Authorization ACT (NDAA). It was basically a form letter that stated I was against the signing of the bill into law. Everything I had been reading about the bill worried me. It’s not everyday that Congress tries to push through a bill that would allow the equivalent of martial law on home soil. According to some aspects of this bill, military presence would have the right to apprehend any individual (including any US citizen) suspected of terrorist activity and detain them indefinitely and without a trial in prison camps. I couldn’t help notice the timing of this bill. It was soon after the Occupy movement in New York started to gain momentum, and even after the war in Iraq officially ended (December 15, 2011). The bill was passed by congress the following day.
To be honest, I forgot about the petition I signed to my Senator after the bill was signed by President Obama on December 31, 2011 even though I continued to see facebook statuses regarding it mostly by various occupy groups I’d ‘liked’. What I did not expect was a letter from the senator of South Carolina, where I live. I almost didn’t open it, and the only reason why I think I did was because I was expecting my new voter’s registration card.
You see, after hearing all about the occupy movement and the possibility of a bill called NDAA passing that appeared to be rushed into law due to the movement that was spreading not only nationally but globally, I wanted to be sure that when the time came, I could exercise my right and vote the person responsible out. I quickly scanned the letter barely able to contain my distain and I could feel my pulse quicken and the systolic pressure in my arterial veins increase when I came to a part of the letter that made me feel less than patriotic to this country and the people who served this country in times of war and who continue to do so.
After reading that letter over several times a few days later, I have no idea why I felt that way. Maybe it was this sentence:
“I will continue to be a strong advocate for our soldiers so that they can complete their missions in a safe and efficient manner.”
I remember thinking that would be great if the enemy were right here, right now, and in my mind I was thinking ‘why on earth would she think we needed that?’ Another thought that came to mind was the fact that my own son served in Iraq as a marine a short time before he was injured and returned to me minus his left forearm. Did she think I didn’t know what it meant to be patriotic?
The rest of the letter was a blur as I contemplated my return correspondence in between images of me squeezing the breath from someone who pretended to have my best interest at heart while slipping through a bill that seemed to threaten those very same interests. So armed with Google, I set to work finding not only material to use in my correspondence to her, but also for the blog post that was sure to follow.
My first discovery? My she was a he. Oops! I guess I had a lot to learn (and it probably wasn’t going to be as easy as I had dreamt either.) It dawned on me that it would probably be a good idea to drop any preconceived notions about MR Lindsey O. Graham before I drew any more conclusions.
Yeah. That would be smart. I decided to read any content I came to about this NDAA without bias and to try and look at it all objectively and in less than the state of panic that I’d previously felt.
The first thing I wanted to know was who Lindsey O. Graham was. I learned a lot. I learned that although he’s a staunch republican, he has drawn the ire of his own party for less than conservative actions. But what I’d learned didn’t give me the means I needed to vilify him as I’d wanted to. In fact, in some circles it might be said that just the opposite is true. But as a Democrat, I’m not going to say that… 😉
What I knew after reading about him was that I needed to know more about NDAA and what was being said about it. And here’s the truth. I’ve seen enough blogs and posts and read enough articles to know that NOBODY is telling the truth. Half want you to believe that NDAA is absolutely nothing to worry about and the other half…well, you guessed it. I read post after post of a page on the ACLU’s blog forum that swears that NDAA was passed as a means to stop Pro-lifers from terrorizing abortion clinics with their peaceful demonstrations. I read posts from people who believe the bill was rushed to prevent the peaceful protests of the occupy movement; but, I also read that this is a bill that was started sometime in 2005 in response to the lack of action military personal could take when dealing with terrorists in Iraq. The specifics are a blur (ugh! Short term memory be damned!), but for anyone interested, I will post a link to the page I read this on. However, my point is that despite what some would have one believe, I’m not left with the impression that this is a bill that was rushed into being to stop occupiers from invoking their 1st amendment rights, and this isn’t a movement to squash protests against abortion.
The fact is, I still don’t understand it all, and I’m still not sure if our rights are threatened.
What I want is someone to actually address those thoughts, those fears that a good deal of people are feeling in an open and honest fashion. If this bill isn’t anything for an American Citizen to be concerned about, I would like someone in authority to say so. Just cut to the chase, otherwise you invite irrational speculation on both sides.
Any volunteers out there? Senator Graham, if you’re reading this, I apologize for being not so informed. I just wish I’d been able to get more than just your correct gender. Can you offer anything?
**Side note: I did find it interesting that behind every forum, blog or site I visited where the belief was that this was the beginning of the end with statements like ‘keep your powder dry’ and ‘arm yourselves’, there were ads armed to the gill, one lined up above and below the other for one candidate for presidency…And the winner IS…
RON PAUL…come on down, you’re our next contestant in the Price is Right!!!
Until next time,
Happy reading and may your thoughts be progressive.