Is the Death of Freedom a Worthwhile Price for Security?
by populistamerica, Thu Mar 30, 2006 at 05:37:08 AM EST
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The American People are a strong people, used to standing up for what they believe in, helping the underdog and taking pride in their independence and their freedom. They have been unafraid to voice their minds and, in several wars, have thrown the cream of their manhood into combat and mobilized their mighty industrial strength, regardless of the cost, to make the world a better place.
We have prided ourselves on our democracy. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been used as models for many nations seeking a new beginning. Our Declaration of Independence has rung down through the ages.
When we started out, we were a group of colonies belonging to England. Most of those who settled here were of English extraction, or were oppressed peoples looking for freedom and a chance to grow, unfettered by tyranny. Gradually, the government of the mother country ceased to listen to the voice of her colonists. The majority of the colonists were loyal to King and country and felt they were entitled to the same treatment as Englishmen at home.
Parliament's reaction to this was more disenfranchisement, more taxes, judges were appointed to punish and control, using the law as a weapon rather than to promote justice. Taxes were raised, and raised still more. New taxes were imposed for nearly every activity in the colonies. The more the people protested, the more unresponsive and punitive the Parliament became. Oh, there were many voices raised in Parliament in defense of the colonies, but they were ignored by the ruling clique. The Crown used troops, secret agents, trade embargoes and more restrictions on personal liberties to bring the people into line.
The rallying cry became, "No taxation without representation!" Finally, leaders in the colonies said it was time to end this. Where originally they wanted to be good British citizens, with the rights of British citizens, they decided upon a course of full independence. The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, was signed by colonial leaders who put their lives on the line for freedom.
After a long and bitter struggle, those rights were won and the new government hammered out a Constitution, followed by a Bill of Rights, which guaranteed that the People of the United States would never put up with those restrictions on personal liberty again.
We are now in our third century of existence. We have fought in a war against England (1812), a civil war and two world wars, in part to keep that Constitution and Bill of Rights intact. Suddenly, somehow, we have let our guard down. Our current President was appointed by an appointed Supreme Court. A terrorist act which tested the mettle of the American People has been used as an excuse to cancel out much of both of those precious documents, in the name of security. The government is putting together a security organization which has only been equaled in its invasiveness and lack of accountability by the Nazi Gestapo and the Soviet NKVD. If the Pentagon has its way, the military will be able to operate without the nuisance of oversight by Congress. The Executive operates in almost total secrecy. The big winners, so far, are big corporations and certain CEO's who have supported the current regime. The big losers are the American People and their Constitutional Rights.
America has proven itself strong enough to handle terrorist acts. Is it strong enough to survive the internal assault on what makes America unique? Can we afford to lose our Constitution and live under an increasingly totalitarian regime which justifies its systematic removal of our rights in the name of antiterrorism? Can we afford to have the wealth of our nation bled off and laundered by a pack of international cartel jackals and their friends in the White House? Can we afford to sacrifice our young men and women in an endless, world-wide war, unilaterally declared by the White House?
I think it is time to reread the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the writings of our forefathers who founded and nurtured this country until it could stand proudly on its own; then ponder the direction we are currently going and what we can do about it. Hopefully, for a time, the choice is still ours.
Written by Stephen M. Osborn, and published at www.populistamerica.com. Stephen is a freelance writer living on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is an "Atomic Vet." (Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll 1956, ) who has been very active working and writing for nuclear disarmament and world peace. He is a retired Fire Battalion Chief, lifelong sailor, writer, poet, philosopher, historian and former newspaper columnist. He welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org