The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Freedom missing bipartisan support

SOPA and PIPA are gone, but one law that curtails civil liberties was passed and has been on the books for a month now.

The National Defense Authorization Act authorized more than just military spending. Clauses 1021 and 1022 of the bill seem to authorize the indefinite detention without trial of U.S. citizens if they are “a part of or substantially support al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged against the U.S. or its coalition partners.” While there is a clause stating this can’t be construed to affect U.S. citizens or legal residents, many outlets believe the wording in both this clause and the quoted clause allow the government to detain pretty much anyone they want.

Two things struck me about this bill. One, whoever tacked on these clauses can’t have been in touch with what their constituents wanted. While these clauses could certainly be used to help national security, many Americans are embarrassed by the indefinite detention that already goes on in places like Guantanamo Bay. This is a step in the wrong direction.

Two, this bill got massive bipartisan support. In a Senate of 100, 86 voted yes for this bill, 40 Republicans and 46 Democrats. In the House, 282 of the 435 representatives voted yes, with a split of 189 Republicans and 93 Democrats.

The recently tabled SOPA and PIPA also received bipartisan support in its sponsorship. As a country, we’re used to splits between congressmen for a conservative government and Christian values and congressmen for a liberal government and freedom of choice, but this is a different split. It seems like there are congressmen for freedom and congressmen against it.

It isn’t surprising that the line in the sand society draws is the Internet and not the Bill of Rights, and by no means are SOPA and PIPA less worthy of protest than NDAA, but the whole situation raises red flags in my head. More than a decade after 9/11, the Patriot Act is still in effect. We’ve been detaining people indefinitely without trial for that duration, and now it’s legal. I don’t buy into the false flag conspiracies, but the government has certainly become more powerful.

Worse, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s in office. Closing Guantanamo Bay was an explicit part of Obama’s platform, and at the end of his first term, the prison is now open to citizens.

Where does this end?

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian