By Paul Gable
We found out over the past week that the constitutionally guaranteed privacy, civil liberties and freedoms of U.S. citizens have been effectively assigned to the scrap heap by our own government.
Okay. For nearly 100 years, the U.S. government has sought to spy on American citizens through a variety of programs, most of which can be tied to the Department of Justice and FBI reign ever since J. Edgar Hoover got the nod from Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer to establish the DOJ’s Intelligence Division in 1919.
It took Hoover less than a year to collect files on over 150,000 American citizens who, through his perverted sense of propriety, were considered a threat to the U.S. government. Those files were amassed in the days when typewriters were the most modern piece of equipment in government offices, a telephone in a private house was still somewhat of a novelty and the Model T Ford was only 10 years old.
But, Hoover demonstrated how quickly a small government department, with the help of private citizens spying and informing on each other, could invade the lives of American citizens.
But now the government had upped the ante. Instead of spying on “some” citizens suspected of being some type of a threat to the established system, the government is spying on all citizens on the off chance it will pick up information to help the war on terrorism.
The government has graduated from the Model T Age to the Space Age of intrusion on the rights and privacy of American citizens, not with the consent of the governed, but rather with enthusiasm from government officials.
The attitude of “get used to it” expressed recently by President Obama is joined by large majorities in all three branches of government.
“You can’t have 100 percent security and also 100 percent privacy,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to make some choices.”
We know for certain that we are much closer to 0 percent privacy than 100 percent privacy anymore. If the recent Boston bombings on Patriot’s Day are any indication, we don’t have 100 percent security either.
I would like to remind Obama and all the Congressmen and judges, who see nothing wrong with the government’s intrusions into the private conversations and internet activity of American citizens, of the words of one of our most revered founding fathers:
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin
Notice the “we’re” in Obama’s statement is not defined. Obama obviously refers to government officials, but, I would submit that choice should be made by the American people, definitely not the government.
If Obama and the majority of Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill want to get rid of due process and protections against unreasonable search and seizure, let them pass an amendment to the Constitution repealing the 4th and 5th amendments and submit it for approval as a referendum in all 50 states.
What better way to allow terrorists to win than to arbitrarily suspend the very rights and freedoms that make us America?
Think about it. I wish the administration and Congress would think about it too.
Too help with these deliberations, maybe it’s time to reverse donations to elected officials. Those of you upset with the elected officials advocating intrusion into the lives of average Americans should consider requesting the return of any campaign donations you made to them.
What better way to get the attention of both Republicans and Democrats than to attack their campaign chests? If money is the “mother’s milk” of politics, lack of it is the “poison pill.”
Anyone can request the refund of a campaign donation. Threaten their re-election and, maybe, they’ll rediscover the Constitution and the principles on which this Republic was founded.