Politics in the United States is increasingly under the threat of fear, due to the fact that the concept of reason seems to have been abandoned, in favor of political ideology and the tendency of the public to fall for the most shocking allegations by politicians. It is unfortunate that this happens without inquiry or research, with fear being used as an effective means of political persuasion. It is worth noting that fear was one of the key culprits used in swaying the American populace to support the incursion of Iraq.
Aspects of Political Climate
In most cases, the American populace is not well knowledgeable as it is supposed to be. This means that there is a deficiency regarding intelligence information on the part of the citizenry, leading to a large segment of the public falling into blind allegiances with political leaders (Gore, 2007). These are usually propagated by making use of the electronic forms of media, with the internet being mainly used as a devise for finding and spreading information.
However, it is a media that still has several limitations. For instance, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, many people falsely believed that it was Saddam Hussein who was answerable for the attacks. Unfortunately, the information available on the internet was not sufficient to convince the public otherwise (Gore, 2007).
The Politics of Fear
According to Al Gore, the founding fathers of the United States had a level of reverence for the threat fear posing for a reason. It is for this particular reason that the founding fathers rejected the aspect of direct democracy, since they believed that fear could be used to overpower insightful deliberation. According to a research, television is in a position of producing sensational upsets for many people.
It is no wonder that the citizen’s exposure to fear as well as other arousal on television is usually exploited by shrewd public relations specialists, politicians and advertisers. This was evident when the Bush administration used such techniques in order to sway the public into believing that Saddam Hussein was behind the terrorist attacks that hit the United States, and that he possessed the WMD. It is worth noting that instead of spearheading a call to audacity, Bush chose to lead by stirring fear.
In most cases, fear was used even in the Cold War to crowd out the initial reasons. As a result, people were left vulnerable to the appeals of political leaders who admit unconditional certainty in basic clarifications. This represents all the challenges as materializations of the effort that exists between good and evil. During the Cold War, fear was used to persuade people to work hard to ensure the fascism and Soviets do not take over the nation.
The fear of Cold War was responsible for causing a treadmill of cycle of people afraid of falling behind. Additionally, mixed with the desire to prove self worth, the fear of Cold War made the society into a hostile over-competitive and paranoid rat race. The American populace lived in anxiety, with progresses being made from the fear of McCarthy, Russians, aliens and nuclear war onto being tagged un-American.
However, there was a sigh of relief following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which marked the end of the Cold War. As a matter of fact, the hatred that left no stone unturned, which caused suspicious inquiries as well as mistrustful double talk have become history.
In most cases, a number of occupants of the White House give a lot of consideration on the information released by the government. In some cases, they are tempted to control the kind of notions that are created in the minds of the American citizens. In one of the most recent administrations, the temptation to control the notions created in the minds of Americans led to an increase in the use of secrecy (Gore, 2007). This included a determined assault on the integrity of scientific results that challenge the administration’s efforts to coerce and silence those, who may be having information that might be used to face up to the decisions made by White House. In the last administration, it was common to find the White House engaging in an extraordinary and unrelenting campaign of mass deception (Gore, 2007).
These convenient untruths were also used in the Second World War as well as during the Cold War. For instance, the United States went through a lot of disapproval for using bombs in 1947 against Japan. As a result, Henry L. Stimson, the then Secretary of War had to publish an article to defend the then administration. In this regard, he used the article to remind Americans that the invasion was of great importance, since well up to a million American servicemen had perished. At that time, bombs appeared to have been a necessary evil. However, with time, other figures were discovered.
For instance, the army headquarters in Philippines, led by the General Douglas MacArthur, later found out that the maximum number of those, who have died in the event of an invasion, would be approximately 47,000. These figures are irreconcilable with tens of thousands of Japanese women and children that had already gone through immolation and irradiation. If the American populace were able to be swayed by the figures produced by Stimson, one can imagine the extent of incorrect information intentionally spread by the administration.
A similar occurrence took place in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, in which the Bush Administration, the then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair came up with the WMD issue as a scapegoat to invade Iraq, in order to prevent Saddam Hussein from using them against the Iraqi or the surrounding nations. As a matter of fact, there was practically no evidence to support these claims. Eventually, the said WMDs were not found. Humanity must realize that active deception by people who are in power quashes true reflection and consequential debate by the citizenry. When an administration lies to the people, the ability of the United States as a country to make wise collective decisions about the nation is severely weakened.
The Assault of the Individual
Another misleading notion that is prevalent in American politics is the assault of the individual. In many ways, there has been a decrease in the role of individuals in the national conversation in the United States. This has significantly resulted in the shrinking reverence for individuals, which is made evident by the fact that individuals can be arrested and imprisoned without any warrant of arrest or even a court process. Sometimes, even their immediate family members are not notified.
It is for this particular reason that a writ, called the habeas corpus was introduced. The right of habeas corpus is a legal procedure that prevents the government from keeping an individual for an indefinite period without showing the reason. In this regard, when an individual challenges his or her detention by filing the petition of a habeas corpus, the executive branch of the government has no obligation but to give an explanation to a judge regarding its justification for detaining the individual. Being a pillar of the Western law from the date of signing the Magna Carta in England, the habeas corpus was used to prevent the King from detaining his subjects in secret dungeons.
The habeas corpus is usually used to bring an individual, who has been criminally condemned in state court into the federal court. In most cases, it is used to evaluate the legitimacy of an individual’s arrest, incarceration, or confinement. The review of a habeas petition by a federal court is usually regarded as the collateral relief of a state court’s decision, instead of a direct review.
Today, the habeas corpus is used as a post-conviction remedy for either state or federal prisoners, who are likely to challenge the legitimacy of the execution of federal laws used in court trials, which may have resulted in their incarceration. The habeas corpus is also used in immigration as well as deportation cases and issues to do with military detentions, convictions in military courts, and court proceedings before military commissions. These include cases like a satisfactory basis for confinement, removal to another federal district court, rejection of bail or parole, legitimacy of extradition to a foreign country, a claim of dual danger, as well as the failure to provide for a prompt trial or hearing.
Examples in Which the Assault of the Individual has Been Used in the United States
According to the habeas corpus, an individual may first be under the supervision of the power of the US, or required to stand trial before any US court. In this regard, the individual may also be in detention as a result of an action committed or omitted in pursuit of an action executed by the Congress. Nevertheless, the process can be suspended in the case of national emergencies, invasion, or war.
In 1861, the writ of habeas corpus was postponed by the President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, as the President wanted to make sure that nothing would stand on the way of winning the war. He also suspended the limitations in response to local police forces, riots, as well as the threats to secession. Additionally, the President Lincoln considered the survival of the Union more vital than the need for it to carry on in a legitimate manner (Osborne, 2008).
In 1864, the habeas corpus was again limited by the US Congress as a result of the security threats that were bedeviling the Union. This time the limitations were different from the previous ones executed by Lincoln, since this time it had the support of the Congress. It should, however, be noted that it was not the writ that was held in suspension, but rather it was the right of the writ that was placed on hold.
In 2001, habeas corpus was again limited by the President Bush. This took place after the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. According to the President, he this action aimed to ensure public safety, in addition to raising awareness on the Global War on Terror. In the same year the US Department of Justice advised the Pentagon to keep detainees in Guantanamo Bay away from the legal exposure (Osborne, 2008).
In this regard, the no review could be done on habeas corpus in light of the Guantanamo detainees, since it could intimidate the principles behind the Constitution. In these cases, it is evident that a number of US administrations have tried to compromise precious rights that America has stood for all over the world, for over two centuries. This includes freedom from promiscuous government surveillance, dignity of the individual, due process and equal treatment under the law.
On the whole, it is not appropriate for politicians to lead a fearful public into supporting unjustified risk-reduction policies, which result in the intrusion of civil liberties. Just as it has been applied before, the society ought to be very skeptical when the government restricts the liberty of the citizenry. In cases, which involve risks to national security, courts need to develop approaches that counteract the risk that the public fear will result in groundless limitations.
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