Thursday, February 22, 2007

We Are All Jose Padilla

Dear Americans,

I write this to you in outrage as an American. It has been revealed that Jose Padilla, an American-born citizen with the same rights as you or I, who was never charged with a crime upon his arrest, given a jury trial, or any of his birthrights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, has been tortured to the point of insanity during his time of detention, most of it incommunicado by order of George W. Bush, president of the United States.

As the federal government has declared the prerogative of depriving Americans of their Fourth Amendment, it is nothing less than my duty to declare that I have not relinquished my Fourth Amendment, or my Bill of Rights, be it for the War on Terror or any other war. In the event of an arrest in which I am guaranteed the rights that are mine by birth as an American, I will go peacefully, as my confidence does and always has lain in my great system of government and jurisprudence. In the event of arrest in which the intention is to declare me "enemy combatant," to be held without benefit of my American rights, I am bound, by the blood of all those who died on soil bearing names like Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and Juno, to resist with all the force at my disposal.

I will not fail the courage of forefathers who sacrificed fighting forms of government which claimed the very same prerogative which George Bush now openly and arrogantly claims. This is one of the forms of tyranny addressed by the American Revolution. I know full well my country's history, and my generation will not fail in its turn.

The politicians will make light of this momentous revelation on Padilla, and feign ignorance of the import. But We the People understand full well the meaning. Now we are all Jose Padilla. The press has belittled the importance of the historic Padilla case and feigned ignorance of the import as well. But our rights will not be made a mockery of. It is now the government which should be on trial, not Jose Padilla.

The allegations against Padilla have changed many times. It is clear that the Padilla case is intended to establish the designation "enemy combatant" once and for all against a free people in the first war which by definition has no end.

The federal government is now outlaw by virtue of the Padilla case. Contrary to his many incorrect assertions that his highest duty to is to "protect the American people," the president's highest duty, according to his Oath of Office, is to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution. The president has betrayed this solemn Oath. We remind all officers of the United States of their oath to the Constitution, not to the president.

I am granted great privilege by history and coincidence of birth to be alive and an American at this time of great peril to my Constitution, which embodies the greatest hope against darkness and tyranny yet devised by the mind of political man. It is a privilege to be alive to participate in her defense, that future generations may breath the air of freedom that I have breathed. No president has attempted what George Bush has attempted, unlimited authority not only to detain American citizens, but to torture to the point of incompetence as well, without charge, without trial, without counsel. In the words of our forefathers, don't tread on me. We the People call upon loyal officers to do their duty, to arrest George Bush for the crime of high treason.

Ralph Lopez
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Yale Class of '82


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