I posted the following on the Soulcast blog on 18 August 2006 and it was titled: “Why I admire America”. Today with the historic election of Barack Obama as President, I feel compelled to repost it here:

I am not an American. I am probably one of millions of people around this planet seething with anger about American foreign policy and what it has done and what it is doing to the rest of the world. I express negative views about the Bush administration’s policies. I oppose the so-called “war on terror” used as a cover for domination of oil resources in the middle east. etc. etc. etc.

An American listening to me might easily assume that I have a lot of disdain for the USA and Americans. But, I’ll let you in on a secret.

I love all the great and glorious ideals of freedom and liberty that America stands for… those ideals that are enshrined in its constitution. As someone living in a country where freedom of speech, freedom expression and freedom of assembly have been practically wiped off the public domain (driving most of us into the last frontier of the internet), I have always admired Americans and their ideals. And I guess, that is why it has pained me to witness the gradual erosion of those rights and ideals in the USA since 9/11. If the PATRITOT ACT, guantanamo, domestic surveillance under inherent executive powers and such other assortment of legal and extra-legal measures are utilised to destroy rights in the very place that I looked up to as the beacon of liberty, then what can we say about the future for the rest of us living in repressive societies of varying degrees.

Like the rats migrating to America believing that there are no cats in America (a la American Tail), those of us in other parts of the world have lived under the impression that America is truly a land of the free. The post-9/11 USA looks terrifyingly like an Orwellian nightmare.

But, amidst all of the gloom of the last few years, here is again another reason why I love America……

A Federal Judge has ruled that the NSA wiretapping authorised by the President under supposedly inherent powers is illegal. This is what she said:
“We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no power not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent power’ must derive from that Constitution.” “The Government appears to argue here that …. because the President is designated Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, he has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself.”

Ultimately, even when the Executive appears to assume excessive powers, there is enough sanity and independance within the Judiciary to ensure that the Constitution and the rule of law are not usurped.

Thank God for the sane voices. Long live liberty.

That was posted two years ago as I saw a glimmer of hope in the Supreme Court repudiation of the Bush enchroachment on civil liberties. Today, I hope that the Obama Presidency would usher in a return to America’s core constitutional values and by doing so restore that great nation to its rightful status as the beacon of liberty.

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