In just over two weeks both the ballots and the die will be cast for a new administration. Since we kind of saw this coming, the ACLU has been thinking a lot about what we want to see from the next administration. You probably guessed that it means the next guy moving into 1600 Pennsylvania will need to clean up after the former resident (and I think that it would be safe to say that the Bush administration did enough damage to warrant not getting its deposit back).
Our suggestions are broken up into actions for Day One, the First 100 Days and the First Year of any new administration. In total, it’s an exhaustive list of what the country would look like if we ran it. More to the point, it’s what the country would look like if we followed the lines of our country’s roadmap — the Constitution.
For starters, whoever wins on November 4 can close Guantánamo Bay, end the practice of extraordinary rendition and put a stop to all American use of torture his first day in office. Imagine getting all that done in one day (maybe even before lunch!). That’s the kind of power our new president will have. Frankly, it’d be a crying shame to waste it.
But it will take more than that to undo the damage that has been done. Our document is an 83-page list of bad policies, unfair rules, and other travesties that the next president will have the power to clean up. Just flipping through it really gives you a sense of just how much power the president has to change things, for good or ill.
Listen, it’s not that much to ask. After eight years of the Bush administration’s refusal to adhere to the rule of law and irresponsible policies there’s a lot of work to do but it needs to be done. Think of it like fixing the foundation on house after years of neglect. Rebuilding and reinforcing our Constitution will only make us safer and more resolute.