On his second full day in office, President Barack Obama made a major gesture toward restoring the Constitution and the rule of law by signing two executive orders: one closed the prison at Guantánamo Bay, and the other restored America to the company of civilized nations by closing so-called “black sites” that facilitated state-sanctioned torture.
Nice start, and the credit goes both to Obama and to the millions of Americans who stood up and took risks to fight against gathering tyranny. But it is not enough. There is a speech that we still need to hear, detailing five tasks that, in order to repair the damage to liberty caused by the previous administration, he must pursue as quickly as he handled the first two executive orders. Its substance should be something like the following:
“My fellow Americans, the Founders had the wisdom to guarantee our freedoms in many ways. They could not guarantee our souls. That is up to us and how we act.
“In every major religion, a version of the following question is asked: what does it profit us to gain wealth and power if we lose our moral values? In the past eight years, we have colluded with acts that jeopardized the very soul of our nation. The greatest crime we committed or tolerated was the savaging of our cherished Constitution.