On October 26th, 2001 a 1500 page document that no one had read was unanimously adopted by Congress and enacted into law granting our Government unbelievable power. It is called the US Patriot Act is an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. This Act made it possible for our government to ignore the US Constitution in the name of national security. It usurped our rights and freedom.
It frightens me to think that our own government in the name of national security has chosen to ignore the very document that grants each of us our rights in this country. This is the document that is supposed to guide our system to provide for our welfare and our domestic good, not to be used when convenient or expedient. When our laws no longer apply to our government, we are no longer a republic or a democracy; we have become that thing which we have fought against in all of our wars. All of the lives lost have been in vain if we allow this to go unnoticed.
People are held without due process. They are held illegally by the very government that is supposed to provide for our defense against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to provide legal means for our treatment under the US Constitution. Under the US Patriot Act they have the right to ignore the US Constitution and the Geneva Convention in the name of Homeland Security.
If you find this upsetting or revolting, it’s about time. We have lost our liberties in this country and the government wants it that way.
In the 1930’s there was a small and insignificant group of zealots in a European country that discovered that by finding a common enemy they could unite a failing economy and salvage their nation. These leaders found a charismatic young Army Private with no particular skills except that he could speak well and he had some very strong ideas about how to run a country. His ideas and his drive took this country from poverty to world domination in a few years. How? He discovered that by uniting his country against a common enemy gave him the public mandate. This man wrongly blamed the problems of his country on an ethnic and religious minority that he claimed were inferior to his countrymen and race. He made these people the enemy of the entire nation. He subsequently executed several million of them in the name of racial purity; we now call it genocide.
The tragedy of the terrorist acts on September 11th, 2001 focused our nations’ attention on just such an ethnic and religious minority based on the suggestion of our incumbent national leader. His security organizations had enough information available to prevent this attack. Yet he blamed these very same organizations for their inability to work in concert for the good of our country. We now vilify an entire ethnic and religious group for their crimes of a few against our sovereign soil and the American people. Starting to see a pattern?
During the Second World War the Japanese Americans were herded into camps for our protection. These people had done nothing to harm this country; their country. They had the misfortune to be born Asian. Now we look with distain upon all people of Arabic origins as terrorists. These unfortunate people came here for safety, security, and to avoid the very kind of treatment we exhibit toward them. Of course there are those that would over through our country for religious and political differences. These dissident people have and always will exist in this country.
The terrorists that created this situation didn’t come here from Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan. They were Saudi Arabian’s in this country on visas’. We trained them in our flight schools. We told them how and where to hit us the hardest; not in words but with our ignorance and laziness. Our bigotry set the stage for these acts. We invited this terrorist activity. We allowed it because it suites our government’s purposes. And now they have done their job better than blowing up a few buildings and crashing a few airplanes. We are running scared and ready to vilify an entire ethnic group because of the actions of a few zealots. Worse yet we have handed unlimited power to our government to continue this witch hunt.
Our absolutism about our world is creating the very situation that gave Germany a fresh and terrifying new start in the 1930’s. We are at war, not with terror, but with each other. Our government tried an old tactic which is, to have people rat each other out. The program was called TIPS. It was intended to provide law enforcement with names of terrorists in the community. We were supposed to tell on each other for the good of the country. Germany indoctrinated their own children to speak out against their parents. Imagine children identifying their parents as dissident and malcontent against their own country. What happened to freedom of speech without recrimination? Shocking…
The FBI and CIA went into public libraries and confiscated the records of people that read ‘certain types of books’. Book sellers we under the same pressure, as were other business that these law enforcement agencies thought were possibly training more terrorists on American soil. Illegal wire taps on personal telephones and the illegal search of private telephone records are common place. It’s the McCarthy era of the 1950’s on steroids. In Mc Carthy’s day they were after Communists who were identified by well meaning and terrified Red Blooded Americans. Today we look at a bearded man with a skull cap and call him a terrorist suspect. There are lists that limit or totally prevent travel. There are lists that limit employment. There are lists of Americans that could pose a threat to the government. All you need do is to speak up against this illegal and unconstitutional activity and you are now UN-AMERICAN and a RADICAL Dissident…
We have entered a new era. Our government has determined that for our own safety against these boogie-men they will have us searched against our will. They secretly search our property, mail, email, records looking for any indication of Un-American activity. Our privacy is being invaded and we are allowing it.
About nine years ago there was an email thread that suggested the new airport security service be called “Federal Air Transport Airport Security Service… FAT ASS. We all know then as the Transportation Security Agency TSA. Several of my friends have other names for them: Special Olympics for Security, US Security Theater to name a few. Isn’t this the truth? Are we any safer than before? There are documented cases of complete foul ups that allowed explosives, ammunition, dangerous chemicals, guns and knives onto aircraft. TSA created a list of safe and acceptable items for personal transport on airplanes. They also created a list of unacceptable items. Things like mail files, fingernail clippers, scissors, cigar cutters, short bladed pocket knives, and even box cutters. The removal of these things from the aircraft personal carry list made us all safer. Most recently a fully loaded magazine of ammunition was found on an aircraft. How does this happen?
Now we must submit to either x-ray scans or full contact pat-down. If we refuse we face an $11,000 fine and imprisonment and permanent exclusion from travel on public transportation. We have lost control and certainly the foresight to contain the problems facing this country.
This NEW ERA is all about making us afraid to move freely about our country for fear of allowing a terrorist to hi-jack a plane, or plant a bomb in his shoe, or to mix enough carry-on chemicals to create one in the lavatory. The terrorists have already won. We are afraid of our own shadows. We search everything but the cargo in the aircraft hold. Why not the cargo hold? Wouldn’t that be a logical place to stash a bomb? Especially since Security Theater 2010 doesn’t look there. This is really “Security Theater”. We are looking for the flea in the room and ignoring the elephant.
While we are all in fear of these terrorists and while we are being scanned at the security check points, and having our laptop computers checked for, whatever… Our government is making newer and better laws that strip us of our liberties and freedoms. Isn’t access to public transportation a freedom? If I buy a ticket, should I not have the right to travel within our own borders…
While we are watching the skies for aliens, they are picking our Constitutional Pockets. Welcome to the New Era.
29. November 2010
~ The Author ~
Charles R. Dickens was born in 1951, is a veteran of the Vietnam, for which he volunteered, and the great-great grandson of the noted author, whose name he shares.
He is a fiercely proud American, who still believes this is the greatest country on the planet, with which we’ve lost control and certainly our direction. He grew up in moderate financial surrounding; were not rich by any stretch, but didn’t go hungry – his incredibly hard working father saw to that. As most from that era, he learned about life from his father, whose story would take too long to tell, other than to say that, he is also a fiercely proud American; a WWII and Korean war, veteran Marine.
Charlie was educated in the parochial system which, demanded that you actually learn something, and have capability to retain it before you advance. He attended several universities in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, and chased the goose further to a master’s, and has retained some very definite ideas about education in this country.
In addition, Charlie is a professional (struggling) blues guitar and vocalist – a musician. This is his therapy career. Nothing brings him as much joy as playing music, and he wishes that he could make a living at it… maybe some day!
That’s Charlie… a proud, opinionated, and passionate American.
Mr. Dickens can be reached for comment at email@example.com