Now that our liberty loving representatives, senators and our pseudo-dictator have conspired to extend the so-called “Patriot Act”, perhaps it is past time to look into this act and see exactly how patriotic it is.
I was raised to think that the most patriotic thing any American could do was to obey, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America – whatever that might require. Dear readers, do any of you take issue with this definition of patriotism? If so, please respond with a factual argument to support your position.
My position is that there cannot be anything patriotic about an act of government that literally sets aside most of the individual rights our Constitution seeks to protect. Calling this invasion of personal liberty “patriotic” is a misuse of language than can only have been intentionally chosen to mislead and confuse – much like including “Federal” in the name of our privately owned, non-government central bank was intended to induce people to assume the opposite of what is true.
If officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations are to be believed, it is our “patriotic” duty to tremble in fear and absolute silence while government hired goons:
→ Invade our private property without a court order and without probable cause,
→ Try to monitor every form of personal communication, including phone calls, email, internet usage, snail mail,
→ Try to monitor our physical activity through the increasing use of cameras mounted in public places,
→ Invade our financial privacy by monitoring all our financial transactions and even granting themselves to seize and confiscate our financial holding, again, without a court order, probable cause or any other sense of due process,
→ Invade our very bodies through the use of “virtually naked” X-ray machines and well as direct groping of our most private parts. (As I write this, this type of personal invasion is being extended beyond airports to other venues and, lacking sufficient outrage from the public, will soon be the price of entrance to most public places),
→ Gather and keep dossiers on anyone the goon squad chooses, without their knowledge and without any direct evidence of criminal activity,
→ One could go on and on listing the real and potential abuses and insults to the idea of liberty, but I will close this list with the most egregious of them all. Our pseudo-dictator now claims the authority to order the assassination of ANYONE he chooses, including American citizens. If this does not frighten you, nothing will.
I can’t even begin to imagine what the original true patriots — those who founded this nation through ideas, words and deeds, many giving everything including their lives – would have to say about this new notion of “patriotism” .
I offer you the position of that modern American “patriot”, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the not so honorable John Boehner who called the bill “a critical tool” to protect the American people. It is not clear to me who he thinks this outrage is protecting us from but it damn well is not protecting us from our most dangerous enemy: The United States Government!
There is no doubt that the 9/11 attacks killed some innocent Americans. There is also no doubt that they were a major embarrassment to a supposed super power. But, in terms of numbers of people killed and amounts of property damage done, they were trivial compared to the numbers of people killed and the property damage done by the never-ending series of wars America has imposed on the world since the end of WWII.
I believe we were once a truly great people and a positive asset to the entire earth. But I am sad to admit that I no longer believe this is true. In far too many respects, we wish to afford ourselves privileges and powers that we, at the same time, actively try to deny to others. One good and current example is the access to nuclear weapons. We seem to see nothing whatever wrong with the U.S. having a great arsenal of these monstrosities yet we try everything we can think of to deny nuclear arms to other nations.
Don’t misunderstand me here – I wish there were NO nuclear weapons anywhere on this earth. But, if they are to be had, why is it necessarily better for one nation to have them than another. Before you answer “well they are bad guys and might actually use them if they had them”, I ask you to remember how many nations have ever used nuclear weapons in anger. Using a rational approach, would not the only nation that has used them the LAST nation that should be trusted with nukes, rather than the premier possessor?
My point here is that I find it quite possible that there would be considerably less hostility in the world if nations treated others with the same respect they expect for themselves. The current situation where America acts like (and evidently thinks) it should have privileges that are denied to other nations is just a global replay of the situation that once existed within our own society where white Americans thought they should have privileges that are denied to people with darker skin tones, even if those people were citizens.
I know, with every fiber of my being that the most patriotic thing I can do is to enjoy my liberty, enjoy my prosperity and to help build a world where everyone else can do the same.
Troy L Robinson