Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Big Brother named George, or is he a King?

Has the Administration of George Bush made one step too many in its fight against terror? The latest revelations that the President authorized the internal spying on tens of thousands of American citizens, has many wondering if their democratic rights are no longer guaranteed under the US constitution.

Using warrant less eavesdropping, the current US government has conducted an information collecting binge unseen in current times. Telephone calls and e mails have been examined by the NSA without notice to the federal court, as has been required since 1978. Anyone perceived as a danger to the American state and by association its government, finds themselves subject to investigation and added to a data base.

Financial records, employment histories and any other pertinent information has been assembled and traded among different US government agencies since the days of September 11th, 2001. A reversal of a former safeguard order to destroy all files after an investigation has been closed, causes even more concern for those looking to guarantee their liberties. Now a file can float around from agency to agency for years, long after the subject has ceased to be a person of interest. Making matters even more intriguing is the revelation that in the most part many of these people were never suspected of any actual wrongdoing in the first place. Why they would have their entire lives put under a microscope is a question that screams out for an answer.

The Pentagon has compiled a database of peace protestors and other activists, “internal enemies” in the eyes of the government, an ever growing data base of those that don’t quite see eye to eye with the Bush Administration’s direction. The Iraq war has become more controversial as the years go by, but the basic touchstone of the American fabric has been the ability of the people to express their displeasure over government policy. Questioning the wisdom of a war or the need to send American sons and daughters into harms way should not be the thing of covert internal action.

The revelations of the internal spying of the last four years has many worrying about a return to the days of McCarthyism and of the tumult of the sixties, an era that very nearly tore a great Republic apart.

The president has stated that these measures are required to battle the terrorist threat to America that has manifested itself since 9/11. Many however suggest that five years after the fact, the need to intrude on the most private conversations and correspondence of American citizens is a step far removed from what is really needed.

One can understand the need for credible information in these post 9/11 days, but going beyond the rule of law and in fact creating the rules as you go along, is not solidifying the concept of Democracy in the land that likes to ring that clarion bell frequently.

The President by issuing these edicts by rite of office, is coming dangerously close to moving beyond the role of an elected official and more towards the demagoguery of Royalty.

The last time the American people were subject to rules by imperial edict a revolution broke out in thirteen colonies. The King at that time was a fellow named George and he lost his empire. A current George may best take note of history and seek out a way to avoid having it repeat itself. His Imperial tones are starting to gain notice among his subjects and the opposition to his secretive ways is gaining momentum.

It’s obvious that the events of 9/11 were a watershed moment in the history of the United States; the terrorist attacks on the United States were a wake up call that the US Government needed to get a better handle on those that would seek to destroy all that America has built for itself. One can almost understand the state of mind that has taken the United States down this path, fear is a dangerous thing and can make people do things they normally would never consider possible in more sensible times.

However, by turning American against American and creating a culture of continual fear in its very own nation, the American Government is destroying a much more valuable concept. That dream of a land of the free, with a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Freedom does not come in the form of secret files and a network of internal spies. It does not resonate in a land that believes in democracy, but yet sees a government make monumental changes to its way of life, without debate of those elected by the people.

There surely must be a better way to protect the people without eroding their rights and freedoms on a daily basis. Once you have lost the trust of the people, you really have lost all that you purport to stand for

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