Wednesday, February 21, 2007

We Are All Jose Padilla
Guest Perspective/Ralph Lopez

Dear Americans,
I write this to you in outrage as an American. It has just been released that Jose Padilla, an American-born
citizen with the same rights as you or I, who was never charged with a crime, given a jury trial, or any other of his birthrights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, has been tortured to insanity during his time of detention, most of it incommunicado by order of George W. Bush, president of the United States.
As the government has declared the prerogative of doing this to any American, it is nothing less than my duty to declare my resistance, and to declare that I have not relinquished 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. In the event of an arrest in which it is intended that I be declared "enemy combatant" by the federal government, 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 died fighting forms of government which claimed the same prerogative which George Bush now openly and arrogantly claims. I know full well my country's glorious history of loving freedom, 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.
I am granted great privilege by history and coincidence of birth to be alive and an American at this time of greatest peril to this Constitution, which embodies the greatest hope against darkness and tyranny that the world has ever seen. It is a privilege to be alive to participate in her defense with all the blood and treasure that are mine to command. No president has attempted what George Bush has attempted, unlimited authority not only to detain, but to torture to insanity as well, without trial, without charge. In the words of our great forefathers, don't tread on me.

Ralph Lopez, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Yale Class of '82

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