Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When I reflected upon the price paid for our freedom yesterday, I wondered are we getting the value out of our sacrifice? Are we surrendering what people paid with their blood to preserve? My father was a WW2 Disabled American Veteran. We often talked about his concern that we were slowly but surely losing our freedom.

He distrusted the growing control of government over our daily lives when it wasn’t about protecting the innocent. Where in the Constitution did government gain the right to say what kind of toilet you had? What about what color you paint your house? Set up massive phone monitoring? Seize and keep your property without convicting you of a crime? Become the arbiter of art, religion, and science? Tell you how to deposit your money into your own accounts?

I admit that I am not happy that we have been operating under emergency rule. Our government has not declared war, but claims we are in one which may last generations. War has been the single biggest tool by government to abridge our civil liberties. I fear that this war may be no exception. I admit that I was hoping for the expiration of the Patriot Act (which I never favored) and a lot of other nonsense. We have secret courts by which we deport people. We send agents into religious services and can pour through phone records and library records without evidence of a crime or a warrant. We sweep people up in the middle of the night and don’t let them call counsel. We hold people far away from their families and don’t notify anyone of their arrest. It seems like the fourth amendment has been repealed and I didn’t even know we voted. I am not referring to people found on the battlefield, but people who live here. It is like the Alien and Sedition Acts were never repealed but expanded. The founding generation would have never tolerated this travesty.

This is not a partisan issue, unfortunately it is a bipartisan problem. We seem governed more by fear than inspired by freedom. We have forgotten that Liberty is a moral issue. It seems we must once again convince our fellow Americans of the moral superiority of Liberty and due process of law, even for immigrants. The laws said to be for non-citizens have been applied to Americans. We have no liberty if the government can imprison us at length without trial, question us without counsel, and seize our property without conviction. Even worse, it wants to be able to execute people without a jury trial.

Sometimes I wonder, why we squander our freedom away to fight those who are trying to destroy our freedom? Sometimes I wonder will my children ever know what it truly is to live in a free country? This Memorial Day, I not only remembered those who paid for our freedom, but I tried to remember what it was when we had more of it.

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