Friday, August 11, 2006

A Bad Attitude of Civil Liberties

Yesterday, driving up to my friend’s house in East Lansing, Michigan with two of my good friends, I discussed the so called terror plot that was broken up by British officials and the raising of the Terror Alert by the Ministry of Homeland Security. After talking for a few seconds I heard a voice loudly interrupting me from the back seat, a normal event when discussing politics. Apparently, while discussing my most recent post on the threat of “terror threats” being used to put fear in the minds of the public, one of my dearest friends (which I mustn’t name) had to throw in her view: “Why would they want to scare us? They are just trying to protect us. Not everyone has the rights we have in this country.” While she was completely false on the former, the latter statement was not completely false, just used in the wrong context. Of course, and as most high school history books will tell you, the United States has unprecedented rights, many more then other nations, and we live a lifestyle far better then the majority of the world. But what they do not explain well enough is why those rights are there, and why we need to do anything in our power to keep them.

Before the American Revolution, the 13 British colonies’ rights started to disappear; houses and businesses were searched or seized without warrant, the people were taxed without any representation or vote, soldiers seized private homes as their quarters, freedom of the press became severely infringed, and the king ruled with tyranny over the colonies. After the Revolution was won (which was fought to win sovereignty and liberty), the founders of this nation set up a constitution with checks and balances, and separation of powers. What they forgot, at first, became the Bill of Rights, and those who opposed it then are still opposing it now. The anti-federalists drafted the Bill of Rights (or the first 10 amendments to the constitution) in order to protect the civil liberties of the common citizen from another tyrannical force like the British crown.

Can you imagine a United States without the Bill of Rights? Can you imagine a world were the executive branch has taken full control of all three branches of government? If you can, and I can, something around the lines of Nazi Germany, Iran, North Korea, or the Soviet Union might come to your mind. It would be a scary, scary place; the president would act as some sort of dictator, with no regard to any rights, possibly waging war for profit or scaring the public into submission. Wait a second… Sound familiar?

If it does sound familiar, and it does to me, then maybe it’s because our president is acting this was as we speak. He has allowed the nation to be attacked (and as of now, we still do not really know) by terrorists, or “Islamic extremists,” used this attack as a pretext to enter into a war over oil (which had been planned before the attack), taken away many of our basic civil liberties (USA Patriot Act), wiretapped our phones and entered all our calls into a massive NSA database, collected a database of our banking records, and just recently passed an act to require all citizens to be issued a national ID card in which all peoples will be placed into a massive database. What is happening here? Is this what George Orwell warned us of? Why must our actions be tracked to every inch of our lives? For security?

It’s obviously not for security, and if you don’t see that then just keep tight behind the president until the next terrorist attack – then you’ll change your mind. I’m making the prediction now: there will be a terrorist attack within the next five years, and when this happens you won’t want to live in the United States any longer, it will be total tyranny. Total control. Martial Law.

Just my two cents before you forget how important civil liberties really are. And one more thing (and I’ve said this over and over again): do anything possible to protect your liberties, no matter what the government tells you.

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