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The Military Commissions Act: A grandmother asks a question of educators

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On October 18th Mary Stromberg, a grandmother from Auburn, Alabama wrote a letter to
every educator in her state asking this question. Here is her letter:

Dear Sir,

I have been pondering the signing of the Military Commissions Act all yesterday and today......I can't imagine what we will tell our school children about the change in the constitution. I am involved in church committees that will deal with high school and college aged students and we will be asked how this new law affects us as a country and as Christians.

It occurs to me that whatever wording we choose should be consistent and clear. This will affect high school and college courses, church groups, and civic groups who are attempting to pass on high minded civic responsibilities.

Please advise,

Mary Stromberg

Many Americans like Mary are wondering what kind of world we will leave for our children;
if any trace of America's proud tradition of individual rights will remain as a heritage to future generations. These are questions that need asking.

They call it the Military Commissions Act; some whisper that it really should be The Torture Act. It was proposed by George W. Bush to provide a retroactive defense for war crimes carried out against POWs, innocent civilians, and American citizens held without ever having been charged with a crime. What they call it does not matter. The names should not confuse us.

It is wrong;this is an attempt to circumvent the means by which our Constitution is amended. All of those involved know that to be the case. Congress passed two acts, one in the House and one in the Senate, that have rescinded the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This must not stand because no legitimate American government can rescind the inherent rights of Americans and this is what has been attempted.

America has been a beacon of hope for the entire world since its founding, not because of the economic opportunities found here but because America began with a vision that resonates with what each of us knows is true. We are each born free no matter what others might say or do.

America came into existence as an act of faith in God, through actions undertaken in the face of seeming impossibilities. A small population challenged the most powerful force on Earth and won. Our Founders believed in, lived and died for the idea that each of us is free, not through government but before any government existed, free in the sight of God no matter what their condition might be through the acts of man.

America was founded as the point of light and faith for a humanity who hungered for individual freedom. The Revolution was fought by individuals, men who went to war, women who lived in the line of fire, providing the supplies that kept soldiers from starvation. They left us a legacy for freedom but they could not make us free. We were already free in the eyes of God.

Those who fought the Revolution understood that freedom was something they must affirm for themselves. Those now dead left us that legacy, the memory that we are free but the affirmation of that freedom remains ours to keep. We must do for ourselves.

Government did not make us free. It cannot rescind our freedoms as affirmed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

No one ever said that it was safe to be free or that we might not have to work and fight to maintain that freedom.

Congress voted; George Bush signed a paper. We are still free but government has shown it does not respect the rights given to us by God.

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Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father (more...)
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