constitution-censored.thumbnail.jpg"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

Martin Niemöller

It’s notable that as of this writing, at midnight, I see nothing on the NY Times front page or on their US page about the RNC harassment, arrests and snatch squads. I see nothing on the Washington Post’s front page, or its Politics page. As best I am aware no major Democratic politician has made a statement that warrants should be required before busting down doors, or that protesters have a right to protest, or that people even have a right to see a warrant.

Why is that? Is it that there’s a bipartisan consensus that civil liberties are just for talk, but when the handcuffs get slapped on people who have done nothing, when people are punished for crimes they haven’t commited, that it’s no big deal as long as they aren’t anyone important? Is it that Democrats stirring words about civil liberties were as sincere as many of their promises to vote against warrantless wiretapping?

I can only assume it is. But I’d certainly love to be proved wrong. So, perhaps a major newspaper might act interested in mass violations of basic constitutional rights like the right to free speech, the right to assembly and the right to be secure in ones own home and possessions and for the government to not be able to search and seize without a warrant. They covered the exact same sort of harassment by the Chinese government in Beijing against activists and journalists, but they don’t cover it when it’s the US government. Wonder why?

And perhaps the politicians who talk a good game on civil liberties might want to speak up, so it’s not just blogs and Indymedia who are noting these violations.

Perhaps. But perhaps not. Perhaps, in this case, silence in the face of police abuses tells us what both journalists and politicians really think about constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Sometimes silence really does speak louder than words.