Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Voices of Franklin: NDAA - What Would Nelson Mandela Do?

Rich Aucoin included me on this email:

Question: Are your elected officials doing what Nelson Mandela would do on NDAA's indefinite detentions? 
Are they honoring their constitutional Oaths of Office by standing up for equal justice and due process under the law? Or are they violating the sacred trust we placed in them to protect our most basic civil rights? 
Please take two minutes to read PANDA Massachusetts' latest news letter below.

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NDAA: What Would Nelson Mandela Do?

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is inspiring others to move beyond it.
-- Dr. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela's bold political activism changed the world. His willingness to challenge the unjust policies of his national government reminds us of the bravery and personal sacrifice that gave rise to our own nation. By standing up against unequal justice in South Africa, Mandela set a timeless example for all of modern humanity. But let us remember that the very ideas and actions that made Nelson Mandela a human rights icon also once resulted in the U.S. branding him a terrorist.
That's right, prominent political figures in the United States branded peace negotiator Mandela a "terrorist" for his justice activism. And yet now we are expected to believe that the U.S. government is somehow infallible when it does such branding today. Under the 2012 NDAA, anyone branded a terrorist, including American citizens, can be presumed guilty and imprisoned for life based on accusation alone, deprived even of the kind of sham trial that Mandela was given in Apartheid South Africa.
So it is ironic that over the next week we will be hearing American politicians of every political stripe gushing with pride and praise for Dr. Mandela's resistance to tyranny. It begs the question: how many of these politicians would have defended Mandela's belligerent acts against the state when he was actually committing them? How many would have locked him up and thrown away the key without due process, NDAA-style?
What Would Mandela Do?
Based on what we know of Nelson Mandela's political activism and the terrible price he paid for it, it is easy to know which side he would take on this question of defending equal due process rights vs. allowing indefinite detentions. Our peaceful grassroots movement to lawfully block NDAA detentions thus provides a useful litmus test for determining who in Massachusetts politics truly possesses Mandela's moral convictions  - and who doesn't.
From his career after prison, we know that politician Mandela would not agree with public officials who sit by idly and accept NDAA's injustices; those who claim it is someone else's job to stand up for basic rights, not mine.
So let us see who in Massachusetts politics has taken a stand against NDAA.
Congressman Jim McGovern has been the strongest leader so far. Besides working tirelessly in Congress to end NDAA's indefinite detention provisions, he has also written in support of PANDA's civil rights advocacy to restore due process at the local level. And to their credit, every other member of the Massachusetts delegation has at least voted to repeal NDAA's unconstitutional sections.
At the state level, Representative Ryan Fattman is another elected official standing up for the right of trial by jury. He supports PANDA's pending State House legislation blocking NDAA detentions in the Commonwealth and has urged town leaders in his district to pass local anti-NDAA resolutions.
At the local level, the people of Webster and Oxford have successfully blocked NDAA, blazing the trail for civil rights leaders in other Bay State communities.
Dr. Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow Party has spoken out against the NDAA, as have numerous organizations, such as the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Worcester Tea Party together with Occupy Worcester, the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts (LAMA), the Massachusetts chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP), the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and others.
It is time for Massachusetts legislators and local officials to do what Nelson Mandela would do.
Contact your local and state officialsTell them to join the people of Massachusetts in restoring the Right of due process.

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