Even black left-liberals are troubled by what they realize is likely the chief legacy of Barack Obama’s term of misrule:
Let us grant that the execution of Anwar al-Awlaki, said to be the mastermind behind the foiled underwear bomb plot, should not much trouble us. But surely the killing of his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and the secrecy around both acts, should.
I like to think that the junior Awlaki’s (reportedly accidental) death weighs heavy on the president’s conscience. In fact that weight does nothing to change the net result — from this point forward the presidency means the right to unilaterally declare American citizens to be American enemies, and then kill them.
It seems America’s liberals and conservatives – both of whom are largely misnamed – share a common inability to grasp the obvious consequences of the actions of the politicians they support. Ta-Nehesi Coates is a rare exception to this, as he clearly sees how the precedent set by the Obama administration can easily be used against them.
The “creeper” debacle was usefully informative in this regard. John Scalzi and his fans illustrated they simply could not recognize that the ability to socially ostracize a “creep” necessarily entails the ability to ostracize any other behavior-based group, and in most cases, any identity-based group as well. In precisely the same manner, most Democrats and many Republicans presently fail to grasp that the ability to legally assassinate a Muslim who is an American citizen on the sole basis of being a President-declared enemy necessarily entails the ability to legally assassinate any American citizen, for any reason, without oversight.
No doubt everyone will belatedly begin to realize this should a future president begin exercising his power to legally assassinate SWPLs. Or church-goers. Or Jews.
This isn’t a Democrat-Republican issue, it is a totalitarian-libertarian one. Coates is astute enough to understand that even if Obama is extremely unlikely to decide to assassinate him, he might not be so fortunate with the next president. Or the one after that. The murderous precedent has been set, and it is the imperial power of the presidency to unilaterally declare death sentences that will be the chief legacy of Barack Obama.