Some Democrats are having a hard time understanding why I, a 24th district Democrat, am opposing both the campaign of Democratic congressional candidate Michael Arcuri and the campaign of Republican candidate Ray Meier.
Although I disagree with Michael Arcuri on many issues, and am generally concerned with Michael Arcuri's arrogant attitude toward voters, my oppositon to Mike Arcuri is ultimately based on one issue: The decision by Michael Arcuri to support George W. Bush's Military Commissions Act.
The Military Commssions Act is more important than any other issue in this campaign, because the Military Commissions Act is a grave threat to America's Democracy. The Military Commissions Act gives the power to imprison people without any official legal recognition of their imprisoned status - because the act takes away habeas corpus protections. The Military Commissions Act also sets up outrageously unfair standards for criminal conviction (including the ability to start a trial before a full investigation of the alleged crime has even been committed).
In practice, the Military Commissions Act will give the President of the United States the powers of a dictator. When the President of the United States can imprison people just because he says that they've committed crimes, Americans are no longer free to speak out against the President without fear of being thrown into prison for doing so.
Maybe the President will use this new power, and maybe he won't. The trouble with the Military Commissions Act is that we'll never know if the President is using his new power - because the law also allows for the imprisonments, torture, and convictions according to new low standards of justice to remain secret from the American people forever. Once this new law goes into effect, we will never know when the President is using his new powers. People could start disappearing into the secret prisons run by the President without us ever finding out about it.
This makes the Military Commissions Act a more important issue than any other - more important than the Iraq War, more important than the environment, and more important than a woman's right to choose. The reason is that with the Military Commissions Act, we will have no assurance of an ability to freely counter the President on any of these issues. Without the ability to exercise free dissent, all issues are at risk.
To promote Democratic issues, we first have to have the freedom to do so without fear of punishment for our dissent from the Republican position. The Military Commissions Act makes it possible for the Republican government to punish us for dissent. Therefore, the Military Commissions Act must take priority over all other issues.
Michael Arcuri either doesn't understand this, or he doesn't care. Michael Arcuri's support for the Military Commissions Act is a mistake of the highest order. To preserve our right to dissent, we need Democrats to stand united against the Military Commissions Act. For that reason, we need to oppose Democrats like Michael Arcuri who defect from the Democratic Party mainstream and support the Military Commissions Act.