Measure GOP candidates’ words against the Bill of Rights

How do the GOP candidates stack up on the Bill of Rights?

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SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 15, 2015 — Today the GOP lineup of candidates will once again enlighten the American people with their knowledge or wisdom (some may demonstrate both). Since the days of the Paris terrorist attacks, the GOP candidates have jockeyed for better poll positions.  Especially after the fear and doubt spawned from the deadly terrorist attacks in Europe and in the United States, it is appropriate that this debate will occur today because it is Bill of Rights Day. Sadly, even before the dark day of 9/11, 14 years ago, and more notably since the hardened al Qaeda terrorists carried out their insidious attacks, American freedoms have been impacted as much, or possibly more than the fixed targets impacted by the hi-jacked commercial airliners.

It is not only the loss of life that is of great significance in such acts of terror, the threat to the  individual rights of citizens in the United States has become increasingly intense in recent decades. But now, the threat is multi-faceted: a very serious threat in the form of Islamist terror that is not easy to predict or prevent, and a very real threat from domestic enemies that have little respect for American freedoms — some who are in charge of the government of the people. As American citizens have witnessed most recently, Islamist militants in one terror organization or another, have been capable of waging a war against common citizens in the United States and western societies.

The clear and present danger to common citizens from militant Islamist terrorists seems to elude the current Obama administration. President Obama and his minions show up repeatedly  as “Islamist-terrorist challenged.” Obama seems to have a hard time connecting the dots – or appears seriously conflicted about ISIS or other Muslim-oriented militant extremists. It is the Obama Administration’s policies to fight effectively against the ISIS threat that will undoubtedly come under serious scrutiny from the GOP candidates in tonight’s debate. Due to the mounting pressure to reassure Americans that his strategy against ISIS is bringing success, Obama appears vulnerable to the scrutiny of popular support.

Certainly, President Obama and his administration appear to be in a serious quandary over “setbacks” that persist to prove the Commander-in-Chief as wrong time and again in his assessment of the threat of international terrorism. To allay fears, President Obama even put in an appearance at the Pentagon the other day. The photo-op seemed designed to calm the growing concerns of frightened and angry citizens as common sense shows that all is not going according to plan as Obama’s own words come back to haunt him regarding his previous reference to ISIS as a junior varsity threat. He now asserts that fighting ISIS it is not as easy as he thought. Was this an admission of his errors of perception? Ironically, before the terror attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, Obama had voiced confidence that ISIS had been “contained.”

Failure to recognize the scope of a genuine threat to the American people, for any president, and Obama’s words do not ring true with Americans, and it is becoming increasingly obvious. Failure of perception leads to failure to protect common defenseless people, and this provides political ammunition for GOP candidates. Many Americans wonder whether Obama can be trusted, as his reassurances seem hollow in light of reality. As he appeared at the Pentagon, Obama claimed yesterday that the U.S. homeland has “never been more protected.”

This may be one of the reasons many voters are rallying to Donald Trump’s campaign. It was Trump’s call for the temporary suspension of entry of Muslims until the government can “figure out what is going on” that stimulated a rise in the polls as opposed to his fading from the race. Mr. Trump, although not a politician, is a shrewd businessman, and the clever ones are as good or better at manipulating people’s concerns – it is one of their mechanisms for accumulation of wealth.

The other day, Hillary Clinton was stumping in Iowa and took note of Trump’s manipulation of people’s concerns (she possesses such experience) and took time to trash Donald Trump’s call for the U.S. to refuse entry of Muslims from foreign nations into the U.S. Clinton characterized Trump’s rhetoric as “trafficking in prejudice and paranoia.” Ms. Clinton stated that Trump’s call was “…both a shameless and a dangerous idea. At a time when America should be doing everything we can to lead the fight to defeat ISIS and other radical jihadists, Donald Trump is playing right into their hands.” Nevertheless, while Trump’s bold proposal has drawn serious criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, it has resonated with millions of fear-filled citizens.

Realistically, the disconnect with the ISIS threat is apparently not limited to the Obama administration, as there are at least two real problems with Clinton’s premise. First, there is a notion among many millions of Americans that her party and the current administration are not “doing everything… to lead the fight to defeat ISIS.” The jury is certainly still out on that. The morning before the attack, Obama was saying that the terrorists had been “contained” in Iraq and Syria. Obama defended his premise at a contentious press conference while he was at the G20 summit in Turkey, when he insisted that the reason he said they were “contained” was because “they control less territory than they did last year.”

While some in the president’s own party have deemed his strategy quite insufficient to deal with ISIS, this can be interpreted more of a pathway of “playing right into their hands” than anything Trump said, which leads to the second real problem with Ms. Clinton’s premise. She indicated  that Trump’s proposal, which is to suspend immigration by Muslims into to the U.S., would play into the hands of ISIS. Intelligent people can wonder how suspension of refugees or other immigration from Muslim countries would play into the hands of the terrorists. Many wonder why the rush to allow Muslims to enter the U.S. right now when tensions are high and there is clear danger.

Someone recently made a simple query: if people know that a jar of jelly beans contains 10 poison pieces, how many people would grab a handful?

The reality is that the Democrats demonstrate more concern over “prejudice and paranoia” than the rights of the American people — more willing to perpetrate the tolerance of poison that the health or the safety of American citizens. Today, it is increasingly clear that the federal government, specifically the executive branch, will do whatever it pleases with regard to individual liberties of Americans. International terrorism is very real, yet there are those who favor the rights of foreign-born individuals over American citizens. The bedrock document of fundamental freedoms is the Bill of Rights; yet, much of the American public sleeps, or seems indifferent to the double-edged attack against the fundamental freedoms.

Today, Americans citizens willingly pay much more than the price of airfare to travel the “friendly skies” as invasion of their personal privacy (quite literally) is accepted as routine procedure. By submitting to standardized scans and searches prior to boarding a commercial aircraft, Americans  as well as other world travelers, trade freedom offered under the Bill of Rights for the freedom to fly “freely.” Citizens now forfeit precious individual rights for regular scrutiny as “business as usual,” in exchange for personal safety. Ironically, today the Obama administration can no longer assure the American citizen of his or her safety, especially in light of the Boston Marathon bombing and the San Bernardino terrorism, not to mention other criminal attacks.

As America has increasingly come under attack citizens are rightfully fearful, but they need to be mindful that the attacks do not always show up as direct assaults by international terrorists, but commonly occur by means of men and women empowered by the U.S. government, those elected “public servants” as well as their appointees. It is truly ironic when the very people entrusted to “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” are capable of lying the public, and severely weakening the law of the land they promised to protect. Deceptive promises and shallow assurances are nothing more than lies. It is obvious that corrupt politicians and minions in the mainstream media are quite good at manipulation.

Among the GOP candidates, Americans must choose from among many who are comfortable with manipulation, but the real challenge is to choose a candidate who is trustworthy. Words that flow freely during an intense campaign are intended to persuade people in pursuit of precious votes. However, words are often deceptive. Words can be used to fan the flames of anger and fear, or to paint a vision of a better future. Americans have long been deceived by words they yearn to hear. However, the very bedrock freedoms that define America are at stake in the 2016 election, and citizens need to weigh candidates’ words more carefully than ever.

Citizens no longer settle for rhetoric designed to manipulate, but should strain to hear the wisdom within candidates’ words, words reflecting the bedrock values in the foundational documents: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – especially the Bill of Rights.


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Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member at West Valley College in California. He currently writes a column on US history and one on American freedom for the Communities Digital News, as well as writing for other online publications. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he worked as the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. He founded the “We the People” Network of writers and the Citizen Sentinels Project to pro-actively promote the values and principles established at the founding of the United States, and to discover and support more morally centered citizen-candidates who sincerely seek election as public servants, not politicians.