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Opening Arguments

Pick your poison

It should not be a partisan issue to ask that our civil liberties be safeguard even in a time when threats to the nation increase. Warrantless wiretaps and promiscuous email snooping were worrisome under President Bush and remain so under President Obama. We must continue to be vigilant no matter who wins the election next week:

During the final presidential debate, the moderator asked Mitt Romney about President Obama's policy of killing suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens, with missiles fired from unmanned aircraft. "I believe we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world," Romney replied. "I support that entirely."

In other words, Romney has no qualms about trusting one man with the power to order the summary execution of anyone, anywhere in the world, whom he deems "a threat to us." This bipartisan disregard for civil liberties is the rule rather than the exception for the two major presidential candidates, who are about equally bad when it comes to respecting constitutional rights, although in somewhat different ways.

Unfortunately, it is a partisan issue. Many of those who yowled the loudest about rights violations under Bush have been strangely silent for the past four years, even though Obama has taken some of Bush's questionable tactics and pushed them even further. And many of those who didn't care all that much when Bush was in office have become new converts to the cause of civil liberties. So no matter who wins the election, expect half the country to complain about our rights being trampled -- we don't know which half yet, but half.