Civil Liberties

Restore our Rights

Our administration will make it a top priority to protect and restore the fundamental civil liberties, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, that hold the essence of what America can be. These liberties have endured constant assault for more than 20 years, starting with the Bush/Cheney War on Terror, and accelerating in the era of Covid lockdowns.

Freedom of speech is the capstone of all other rights and freedoms. Once a government has the power to silence its opponents, no other right is safe. We will therefore dismantle the censorship-industrial complex, in which Big Tech censors, deplatforms, shadowbans, and algorithmically suppresses any person or opinion the government asks them to. We will respect the right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, by ending mass surveillance of American citizens and the abuse of civil asset forfeiture. We will make sure that the Covid-era suspension of the right to assembly, trial by jury, and freedom of worship will never happen again. The same for the right to property. During Covid, 3.4 million businesses were forced to close. Many of them, including 60% of Black-owned businesses, will never reopen.

A Kennedy administration will respect American citizens and stop treating them like suspects and schoolchildren. We will stop manipulating the public with propaganda and targeted leaks. We will never weaponize the law against political opponents, nor hold our own officials above the law. We will return the intelligence agencies to their proper role as protectors not violators of liberty.

We will also take special care to ensure the civil liberties of minorities and the poor. We will end the failed War on Drugs and grant amnesty to nonviolent drug offenders. We will shut the school-to-prison pipeline, and transition prisons away from a punishment paradigm to a rehabilitation paradigm. Prisons will be an intervention in a life gone wrong, and a way to prevent offenders from harming others again.

Instead of defunding the police, we will transform the police. We will incentivize them to prevent violence, not make unnecessary arrests. We will train them in de-escalation and mediation skills and partner them with neighborhood organizations. No longer will their relationship to the public be adversarial. They will focus their attention on serious crimes, not harassing ordinary people.