When We Abandon the Law. . .
Scripps-Howard News Service 11.27.01
We are in the middle of a national tizzy about the president's
decision to jail aliens and apply military justice to terrorists
when the Nation's defense is best served thus. William Safire (The
New York Times, Nov. 15) went as far as to accuse George W. Bush
of seizing dictatorial powers. Pros and cons fill the media, and
it is only a matter of time before the A.C.L.U. declares war on
the president along a broad front.
An excellent discussion of rationale, precedents, and reasonable
safeguards has been provided by Catholic University's Douglas W.
Kmiec in the Wall Street Journal, also on November 15.
Yet, as usual these days, all discussions are about symptoms with
no reference to the cause. George W. Bush is responding to an acute
crisis, brought about by decades of chronic neglect of our national
No bona fide American can be happy at the prospect of even the
slightest dent being permitted to disfigure our legal system. But
where have they been all these years? Our laws, and their reasonable
application, have fallen into disuse to an extent that defies human
Based on possibly well-meant but nonetheless ludicrous political
views, alternately labeled "Liberal," "compassionate,"
or "inclusive," a demographic assault upon these United
States has been allowed to proceed unchallenged.
Contrary to the battle cries of the Multicultural establishment,
the issue has nothing to do with the continent from which immigrants
arrive. In other words, the damage sustained has not been caused
by the expansion of the immigrant pool beyond traditional, mostly
European, places of origin.
The damage has been sustained because of the number of immigrants
admitted within a given period, the individuals selected, and the
manner in which newcomers have been encouraged to conduct themselves
The vast numbers have made it simply impossible for immigrants
to be absorbed gradually, the way they used to be when the frequency
of new arrivals was controlled by reasonable laws and officials.
Individuals selected no longer are required to be of good health,
of good character, of good intentions, or to possess the basic ability
to build a life in America.
Once over here - unlike the pre1965-days - no one is responsible
for their sustenance, and newcomers are no longer required to study,
comprehend, and adopt the ways of America. Indeed, they are encouraged
to rely on the state, and to build ever-larger communities in which
the way of life they had chosen to reject in favor of a new one
in America is reconstructed - language, customs, appalling political
and absent legal traditions all included.
And this is just the damage inflicted by laws passed to satisfy
political agendas that run counter to the interest of the United
There is no intention to observe the law, even for appearance's
sake. As everyone knows, our borders have been open to all and sundry.
We even corrupted our language by renaming illegal aliens "undocumented
As we abandoned our laws and their reasonable application, so our
woes multiplied. 19 men caused the horrible death of six thousand,
and material damage we may not ever be able to quantify. None of
the 19 should have set foot in this country. Bad laws and their
negligent application, acting in concert with political agendas
unsympathetic to the interest and security of this country, enabled
them to be here, learn to fly the latest passenger aircraft, and
board the flights we shall never forget.
Because all 19 were of the same cloth, potentially innocent millions
are under suspicion, no matter how many times we state the opposite.
"Innocent until proven guilty" has been among the primary
assets of this nation from the beginning. All the U-boats of the
Third Reich, all the ICBMs of the Soviet Union proved powerless
against that asset.
But now, our president believes he has to make concessions because
the risk to the nation has become too great. We might not be able
to afford traditional trials by jury - a crown jewel of the English-speaking
world since King Henry II introduced the concept around the year
The tragedy is, the president may have a point under the prevailing
circumstances. We may have to pay this bitter price because we had
abandoned our laws and their reasonable application. Right now,
we may not have another option.
Beware! This path leads downward. Each step away from the strict
rule of law brings on the next step in the same direction. We can
still take stock and recommit ourselves to the rule of law. One
way or the other, there is now a price to pay.
But if our choice is to abandon the law, let no one be surprised
if, before long, the law will abandon us.