These words, not the threats of violence from Hesbollah, Hussein, Kim Jong-Il or any other host of maniacal purveyors of violence and oppression, are the most sinister words in the media today. In fact, they could be the most powerful words in the continuing erosion of democracy around the world.
They are the typical “Man in the street” response to a growing list of major trespasses on the U.S. Bill of Rights being carried out by the Bush Administration in its ironic quest for further hegemony over its loyal subjects.
Just as lowercase-L liberals were once outed as Communists during the reign or Senator Joseph McCarthy, they are now outed as terrorists or sympathizers. And America, seething with fear and loathing after September 11; still longing for a Bronson-esque payback after losing the twin towers; and complacent with Department-of-Homeland-Security-induced terror has begun to cede even her most basic of human rights to a government whose scrutiny and authority over our personal lives (whether we be American or not) seems to know no bounds.
What follows is a sampling of heinousness just in the past few days.
Passenger Screening for air travel based on information which includes — of all things — credit reports and bank account transaction records. This in the hands of the same minimum-wage monkeys who require you to check your power-bereft PDA as baggage, instead of in your carry-on, in case it’s an explosive device:
The seizure and takeover of Internet Domain Names by the FBI and DEA from their rightful custodians without due course such as a trial, hearing, or subpoena. Unwitting visitors to the sites subsequent to seizure could themselves become suspects in additional prosecutions:
PATRIOT II, a complex new bill being prepared by, you guessed it, the Department of Homeland Security, which threatens to infringe on the citizenship rights of Americans who are suspected of supporting “known terrorist groups” (by whose definition?) by stripping them of their nationality and therefore their right to a fair trial.
…but why do people simply shrug these transgressions on their rights off with a simple uncomfortable smirk and a vain hope that it makes their lives safer? Fear. Americans are scared. And they’re scared because of constant media focus on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Dirty Bombs, etc., and because of the Bush Administration’s continued manipulation of the events of September 11, 2001 to meet their own ends of a bigger government that views basic civil liberties with disdain. In fact, in the recent Chicago Night Club fire, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy when someone shouted that the Pepper Spray being used to subdue the brawlers was actually a poison gas and that they were the objects of a terrorist attack — trampling dozens of people:
(Op/Ed piece on the nighclub stampede) http://www.southernillinoisan.com/rednews/2003/03/05/build/opinions/ OPI002.html
(Terrorist preparations in, of all places, Chillicothe, OH) http://www.chillicothegazette.com/news/stories/20030305/localnews/ 1111826.html
Yes, Americans are jittery. But the reality is that Americans were ten times more likely to be killed by — you guessed it — other Americans with guns than were killed by the Al Quaeda or any terrorist organization in 2001. And while the Terrorists seem to be waiting their turn, the murder rate among Americans continues to climb. And while the WTC attack was certainly graphic, painful, disturbing, and malicious it is merely a statistical blip as compared to the strife which hits Americans, of whom one out of three have no health care coverage at all, every single day.
So why spend billions of dollars and trespass on the rights of every walking human when America has real, difficult problems to solve? Well, that’s for all of us to conclude on our own I suspect… but I say to FOIB’s American friends, what were you doing when they took your rights away?