By Eric Brakey
“No amendment to the Constitution is absolute!” President Joe Biden declared during an April address to Congress–and he means it.
If you ask the President, the Constitution contains no hard limits on the power of Washington, D.C. and no absolute guarantees for the freedoms of the people. Biden’s vision for America is one where everything is relative to the whims of the political class. That’s apparently why, over the course of his long political career, Biden has led the charge to systematically dismantle the Bill of Rights, from privacy to free speech to the Second Amendment.
An unapologetic proponent of the Patriot Act, Biden repeatedly took credit for writing an early version of the bill, which laid the extra-constitutional foundation for warrantless mass surveillance of American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Eight years ago, under the Obama Administration, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the depths of these secret surveillance programs to the public. These programs were so secret that Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, committed perjury by lying under oath to Congress about their existence. Federal courts struck them down as unconstitutional last year.
Despite these well-publicized crimes, the only person facing prosecution is the man who exposed them. As Vice President, Biden was hands-on in the pursuit of Snowden for the speech “crime” of exposing government crimes, pressuring foreign leaders to deny asylum to the whistleblower.
Biden is taking a similar approach with journalist Julian Assange, calling him a “high-tech terrorist” because his disclosure and reporting of government secrets have ”done damage” and “made it difficult to conduct our business with our allies and our friends.” Biden seeks his extradition to the U.S for charges carrying potential penalties of 175 years in prison.
With the continued rise of social media, however, every American is a potential Snowden or Assange, threatening the constructed political narratives used to corral American voters into an illusion of political choice. In 2016, this threat became fully realized. The American people rejected the Bushes, the Clintons, and all their imitators, instead electing the unpredictable and uncontrollable Donald Trump.
The Washington power structure was aghast. They dragged the CEOs of social media companies before Congress, threatening them until they initiated censorship programs to reduce the influence of those who build large audiences by challenging establishment narratives.
The 2016 election was a warning that half of America is frustrated with the neoconservative and neoliberal directions of the party establishments. Rather than address or appease those concerns, new Democrat majorities in Congress are running in the opposite direction, seeking to fix the system so they don’t have to listen: overhauling election laws, scrapping the Electoral College, packing the Supreme Court, and stuffing the Senate.
Since the end of Reconstruction, America has held together under the shared agreement that we can make change through the ballot box. The election meddling and disinformation campaigns waged against Trump over the last four years have made many Americans believe their votes don’t matter. New proposed laws to disenfranchise red states could further undermine faith in this social contract.
John F. Kennedy once warned, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Joe Biden must know this, which might explain why the Second Amendment is his next target.
In his April address to Congress, as Biden declared our once-unalienable rights to be totally alienable, he announced the most ambitious gun control agenda ever proposed by a sitting President, including a plan for sweeping bans on commonly-owned rifles, prohibition of homemade firearms, and “Red Flag” gun confiscation to target and seize firearms from “potentially dangerous” Americans with no notice or due process.
Considering the prosecution of Snowden and Assange for free speech over the past decade, one must wonder what previously legal exercises of our constitutional rights will the Washington establishment label as “potentially dangerous” in the years ahead.