I've already been called a "communist" and a "hippy" for my questioning attitude; for the record I find the latter far more offensive than the former. I have yet to call anyone telling me to pipe down or go with the flow a fascist, nor will I ever. I believe there is nothing more American than eternal vigilance and critically thinking about the decisions our government is making. Utilizing your First Amendment rights is, in my opinion, the greatest compliment you can pay in hommage to the people who built this country. But we are faced with a new reality since September 11. Will the freedoms and liberties that we have always enjoyed be restricted or even destroyed?
My quick answer to the question above is a somber "yes." That is, if we continue down the path we are travelling and writing blank checks for legislation to pass, we will have a new America, one with less liberty and justice for all. It sounds like we are in the 1950's all over again. Echoes of Senator Joe McCarthy's wicked nervous laugh resound in my head. It seems that I, and anybody else who think there may be a different approach to fighting terrorism, are now wearing the dreaded scarlet badge of "unamerican."
Should we be making it easier to obtain wire taps? I think it was easy enough before the attacks. It scares the hell out of me that thanks to Congress it is now even easier to get one. Anything deemed a "national threat" can be open to investigation. Sounds alright, but who defines such a threat? It is an incredibly broad term and I fear that anything the government finds conflict with can fall under such a heading. Forget terrorists, we all agree they have to be dealt with. It is the average American who challenges the decisions made by our government that is going to suffer here. The First Amendment isn't quite as important since September 11. What is being shoved down our throats is that to feel "secure" and "safe" we must make sacrifices. Well sacrificing the First Amendment shouldn't be one of them. But it is. The hostility I have encountered in simple conversations about this "war" is evidence of this enough for me.
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