posted on Mar, 1 2004 @ 06:23 PM
I got alot of good feedback on this one and decided to add more of a conclusion to it, so let me know thoughts on the changes I made.
I recently attended an ACLU sponsored event (within the land of Blue and White) that educated students on the components of the Patriot Act that are
egregious (abominable) in comparison to what our Founding Fathers had envisioned for the citizens of the United States. Hell, under USPA Section 802
Definition of Domestic Terrorism, domestic terrorism can be defined as: (A)” involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal
laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended-- (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy
of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;”
Doesn’t that basically make all of our Founding Fathers terrorists? Did they not conduct a war against the British? Did they not intimidate those
against breaking away from “the homeland”? Did they not dump tea during the Boston Tea Party to dispute tea taxes? Did they not “affect the conduct
of a government by mass destruction of British goods? kill British troops? kidnap any British officials? Well in my opinion, as well as just about
every history book I have ever read, our Founding Fathers did engage in these activities, so are they not terrorists by the statutes of the Patriot
I feel George Orwell has the best reasoning behind why the Patriot Act was passed, which states "…the consciousness of being at war, and therefore
in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.” It seems no truer words have
been spoken in regards to the ease that the Patriot Act had been passed following the tragedy of September 11th, but should we really be surprised?
History has once again repeated itself, as the events that are occurring today are perfect parallels relating to the events of February 27th, 1933,
which for those unfamiliar with modern history, should note that this was the day that the Reichstag went ablaze, allowing Adolph Hitler to convince
President Hindenburg that the German nation was under attack by the communists, thus suspending the German citizens’ basic civil rights. Well, we all
know how that turned out, as one can venture to the Holocaust Monuments and see the following: "When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for
I am not a gypsy. When they came for the Jews, I did not speak, because I wasn't a Jew. When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am
not a Catholic. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak."
Now before I get slammed by the masses for comparing the US to Nazi Germany, I would like to note that I personally do not sympathize with Hitler in
the persecution of millions, nor do I think that President Bush is following a Nazi-like doctrine at present, but I would like the reader to ponder
how both events were strong catalysts in the passing of very repressive statutes and laws restricting both personal freedoms, and civil liberties. On
another note, I would also like to state that I feel the whole Patriot Act issue is not a Conservative vs. Liberal issue in the means that the Bush
propaganda machine through the mouth of Ashcroft has tried to instill it to be. As George Bush said, “You are either for us or against us,” a
statement that basically perpetuates the notion that opponents of the Patriot Act are either “for terrorism, or against terrorism…” Now how much
harder does that make opposition? Its kind of like the Drugs and Terrorism campaign, that in my opinion mimics tactics used by the Committee on
Public Information spearheaded by George Creel during WWI, making Americans feel that if they oppose something, they are unpatriotic, or traitors to
their country; In the case of the Drug War, opponents of the current drug stance “fuel terrorists (Bin Laden) through purchases of marijuana,” as well
as other absurd statements. Now I don’t know about you folks, but does this not create a black and white environment that doesn’t allow a “gray”
opinion meshing the black with the white? Its either you support the terrorists by buying drugs, or you support the government attempts to erase
terrorism by abstaining from drugs; The same rings true with notion of the Patriot Act, as one can either be for protecting the USA from terrorism, or
support terrorism by opposing the act.
On a newsworthy note, USATODAY published a Gallup Poll on their website asking the following question: “One provision in the Patriot Act allows
federal agents to secretly search a U.S. citizen’s home without informing the person of that search for an unspecified period of time. Do you approve
or disapprove of this provision?” Well folks the results were pretty interesting, as 71% of the respondents were disapproving of that measure, which
coincidently does not have a sunset clause.
So I ask those reading this editorial piece, how exactly did we come to this? How long will we continue to take for granted what the Bill of Rights
means? How long will we take for granted what the Constitution grants us? We can’t live like this forever, and for those that support the Patriot Act
using the faulty reasoning of “Well, golly gee, if you have nothing to hide, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you. This will definitely stop
terrorism, as it allows us to monitor the terrorists better, allows us a better chance of catching them before they undertake their plans.” So
explain to me how if we enforce these new measures, how exactly they will make us safer? The terrorists, being terrorists, will continue to evade
these measures, just as they had successfully evaded the measures we previously had in place. If someone is indeed a terrorist, how will allowing the
Government to read one’s library records prevent terrorism? How will allowing the Government the use of Sneak and Peek warrants prevent terrorism? I
would say that it will not prevent terrorism any better than previous measures we had in place. Do you really feel a terrorist planning a terrorist
attack would rent a library book pertaining to “how to make incendiary devices” under their real names? Would a sneak and peak warrant be any more
successful in gathering intelligence compared to a traditional warrant?
I feel the best way to end this dialogue is through the words of Harry Truman, who states "Once a government is committed to the principle of
silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source
of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear." I am fearful for a reason, and I hope that as Democrats you can
also see the reasoning behind my fear; We are moving to an increasingly more restrictive society that is taking away rights guaranteed by the US
Constitution, rights that once taken away are very likely not to be returned. Ladies and Gentlemen, basically all we really need is one more terror
attack, and bam, the Patriot Act 2 is passed through Congress as the American public feels that the first Patriot Act was not successful and the
Government needs to increase surveillance, further restrictions, in order for us to feel safe. As Benjamin Franklin puts it, “Those who would trade
essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security,” and I wholeheartedly agree.
[Edited on 3-1-2004 by slugfast]