What makes America worth defending

Anyone who wonders why the United States is worth defending should read the judge’s decision in the case of Brandon Mayfield.

Mayfield is the Oregon lawyer who was accused of being a participant in the al Quaeda-connected bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, Spain. The accusation appears to have been based mostly on Mr. Mayfield’s religious affiliation, and not on any evidence. Mayfield was arrested, charged and held in jail, until the charges were dismissed.

Mayfield’s suit points out that the government acted illegally against him, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which bans searches without a valid warrant. It appears that Mr. Mayfield’s religion was the chief basis for the search warrants obtained.

In what other nation, in a time considered to be a time of war, could such a suit protecting a citizen against his own government be entertained? In what other nation could one judge declare such a major action of its government to be illegal, with any expectation that the government would obey such a ruling?

The case will probably be appealed.

Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars covers the issue well enough to make a lesson plan out of it for government or civics classes.


10 Responses to What makes America worth defending

  1. James Kessler says:

    And perhaps the best explanation of why Morgan and Lower are wrong with their incessant protecting the rich:


    Maher: America’s rich aren’t giving you money, they’re taking your money. Between the years 1980 and 2005 80% of all new income generated in this country went to the richest 1%. Let me put that in terms that even you fatass teabaggers, I’m sorry, can understand.

    Say 100 Americans get together and order a 100 slice pizza. The pizza arrives and the first guy takes 80 slices. And if someone suggests, why don’t you just take 79 slices, that’s socialism! I know, I know. I know, I know, it’s just a TV show. But it does reinforce the stupid idea people have that rich people would love us and share with us if only they got to walk a mile in our cheap plastic shoes.

    But they’re the reason the shoe factory moved to China. We have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same. Like somehow the rich will eventually get so full that they’ll explode. And the candy will rain down on the rest of us.

    Like there’s some kind of pinata of benevolence. But here’s the thing about a pinata. It doesn’t open on its own. You have to beat it with a stick.

    Maher: So I say, forget Secret Millionaire, I have a better idea for a show. Every week one of the men responsible for the global financial meltdown is dropped into a poor neighborhood and… and that’s it. No cameras. We just leave him there. I call it I’m Alan Greenspan, get me out of here.


  2. Pangolin says:

    Lately I don’t find a lot about ‘America the people’ vs the geographical United States worth defending. There are some very good people in the U.S. but they seem to be outnumbered by the complacent or those who are outright hostile to positive changes.

    I can’t defend that.


  3. […] are other things that make America worth defending, of course; we soaked some of the ideas here in the Bathtub four years ago Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed The cleantech graveyard […]


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Haven’t gotten to it specifically — didn’t I mention it with the Library of Congress program? Hmmmm . . .


  5. bernarda says:

    Here is Ken Burns explaining to people how to conduct an interview.



  6. bernarda says:

    Maybe it is superfluous to mention this, but since you don’t seem to have a post on it, I am bringing it up. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s film about personal histories in WWII , The War, has begun on PBS.


    Apparently he also has an oral history program to go along with it. You can find several reports and interviews on youtube about it. It seems to be in the line of Studs Terkel’s radio interviews.


  7. opit says:

    The President and military officers all take an oath to defend the Constitution. There may be a reason.


  8. jd2718 says:

    I don’t know the answer to your question, but I think you’ve missed the point. The natural conclusion is that it is the right itself which should be defended.


  9. James17930 says:

    Right, they’ll appeal it and waste thousands more dollars.


  10. opit says:

    One thought. Congress has authorized no war. ‘Campaigns’ of dubious merit flogged under that misnomer cannot benefit from legalese meant to be used in the real thing.


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