Do you hear that? That is the sound of the president and Congress tearing apart the Constitution. While many of us were out celebrating the new year, President Obama was privately signing our civil liberties away. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 was masqueraded as a defense appropriations bill, but deep within its pages lay a short passage: Sections 1021 and 1022, which allowed for the indefinite detention of American citizens. Citizens can be detained out of suspicion of terrorist activities without charges being brought against them and certainly without due process, as stated clearly in the Constitution.

President Barack Obama released an executive statement after signing the bill that read, “the fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it.” In other words, I want the power to detain American citizens, but I will probably never use it. The president may or may not use this provision. However, what is to stop future presidents from abusing it? Given the president’s three-year civil liberties track record, I simply have no faith that he will keep his word. In a matter of three years, Obama has managed to extend the Patriot Act, keep Guantanamo Bay open, and assassinate American citizens he deems as terrorists, among several other violations. His record places him above former President George W. Bush as the one of the worst violators of civil liberties this country has ever seen. And if he manages to have another four years, which is quite likely, he will be able to do much more damage.

But, of course, people will stand by and defend him because he is “better than the other options.” When it comes to Election Day, it is not too hard to peel back the gilded layer of finely tuned rhetoric and see your two choices are more or less the same. One side wants to regulate your economic choices, while the other wants to regulate your personal lives. Both want to expand the military empire overseas, invade countries and “protect America’s interests.” Both want to expand corporate welfare and subsidies to their campaign donors and economic interests. Both want to prop up unelected American-friendly governments by funding their militaries with billions of taxpayer dollars. And both want to suck more executive authority from the U.S. Congress, making it harder and harder for citizens to restrain foreign and domestic policies in the future.

My words are not an endorsement of any one policy, candidate or party. It is more of a plea to care about returning the role of government back to protecting our civil liberties — not taking them away. It is time to return to the Constitution and protect due process and the rights of all individuals. There is no doubt the government fears the people, or else they would not pass this authoritarian legislation. Although terrorists surely exist, the definition of “terrorists” has been drastically expanded to scare us into supporting policies, which also endanger our rights. We need some real change. It is time to reboot the system.