WASHINGTON, April 16, 2013 - For the past 12 years, the lives of Americans have been altered almost immeasurably, and we have conceded numerous luxuries.
In a pre 9/11 America, it was not uncommon to walk up to the gate in an airport terminal to wish a loved one goodbye or greet them before a trip. Now it is improbable to pass through security unless you are boarding a plane, and even getting through security is usually a trip in itself.
Authorities closed countless tourist attractions right after the attacks, another luxury that is reasonable to concede.
But now the invasions are getting more pervasive.
Bloomberg urges cameras on every street corner, the United States still has the power to detain people indefinitely, and yet there was still a senseless and tragic attack on innocent bystanders and participants of the Boston Marathon.
Sadly, terrorists have been able to incite fear that robbed the country of it is most treasured ideal: freedom
As with most attacks on the country, 9/11 helped form solidarity within the nation. In the immediate aftermath, citizens started donating blood at record rates and a wave of patriotism swept the nation. Support the troops ribbons abounded and imagery of first responders at ground zero hallowed, but soon the warm sentiment turned into a cold reality, when the Bush Administration enacted key policies.
Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, or as it is better known, the Patriot Act, is possibly the most controversial and central issue of Post 9/11 era American domestic and foreign policy. The Act severely reduced legal and constitutional restrictions on law enforcement agencies when gathering information on terrorists, but has gained more controversy for its effects on the rights of individual citizens. A common criticism is the ease by which a law enforcement agency may access private communications of regular law-abiding citizens, who subsequently could face charges without a judge issuing a formal search warrant.
As if the Act wasn’t bad enough, its inception was coupled with a new bureaucratic institution, the Department of Homeland Security, which has been accused of excess waste, fraud, and general ineffectiveness.
Aside from all the bantering which often labels George W. Bush as a tyrant, Barack Obama himself has renewed the Patriot Act, and has even signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows for the indefinite detainment of American citizens. Both Republicans and Democrats have perpetuated this horrible cycle and erosion of human rights, and sadly the largest culprits of this scheme are the American people themselves.
Complacency, apathy, and ignorance among other things have caused the erosion of our rights.
If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, the American people have opted for a cheaper option of some sort. We have a country in which the past election just above half, 57.5% approximately, of the eligible electorate voted. In the preceding 2008 election, 148.3 million watched the Super Bowl compared to the 133 million who voted. More people care about a sporting event in which they have no direct influence on it’s outcome, than an election cycle which affects the course for the country’s domestic, foreign and fiscal policy.
Do not worry about your taxes getting raised, watch Tom Brady throw another touchdown. Do not be alarmed that drones could used for surveillance on American citizens, just drown it out with more reality TV. Without an informed and enthusiastic population to keep the politicians on task, our elected leaders have run away with their responsibilities and legislated illegal and egregious laws.
Freedom is more an illusory concept now more than ever. As George Carlin joked, the only thing you have a choice of in this country now is whether or not you want a bagel in 12 different flavors with assorted cream cheeses. Our political leaders have become crooks and shills, but only because they realized the people would not catch on.
Benjamin Franklin once said “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” never has rung truer.
All the liberties that we have relinquished will be extremely difficult to re-establish, and the Boston bombings prove that giving them up will not establish a completely safe country. It is time for the country to wake up, turn off the TV, and ask itself a serious question. Would you rather a safer country with continuously diminishing freedoms, or have a freer country and accept the risk of the same dangers regardless?
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.