The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
While trust and transparency in regards to the United States government is on life support, journalism isn’t dead. Multiple news sources have revealed a government plot so Orwellian in nature, one wonders if those in government are using 1984 as their guide instead of the US Constitution.
Two separate spying programs, one involving the NSA seizing phone records of millions of Americans for analysis without any probable cause and the so-called Prism program entangling trusted Internet service providers, have created a civil liberties firestorm.
Will Americans shrug their shoulders by excusing the activity as part of a new normal in the age of technology and trying to catch terrorists, or will they storm their representatives demanding answers and accountability? Or is it some version of the two? I cannot tell, however, I can make the following statement: we are living in a police state.
No, it is not North Korean in scope or ferocity, but nonetheless, our government, the government that our founders placed severe limits on, has overstepped its bounds. 9/11 did change things; it altered the perception that our government needs to take action to piece together intelligence to foil plots. But as some were asking as our representatives rushing to pass the patriotically named Patriot Act, where is the protection of our fundamental civil liberties? That protection is in the trash.
Truth is, Americans are to blame for this. We allowed the blanket targeting of airline passengers instead of targeting those who are from countries that espouse hatred and intolerance of the Untied States. And we have allowed businesses to be so cavalier with our information. Google, Facebook, and Apple all claim to have no knowledge of the Prism program nor provide any back door entrance for the NSA into their servers, but we know the game. They have been in bed with government for it is that entity that threatens to raise tax rates and to begin anti-trust inquisitions. Behold the police state.
Candidate Obama savaged the Bush Administration for these very abuses of civil liberties but President Obama, his apparent alter ego, has placed all the anti-terror programs of that administration on steroids. The result is a massive, powerful, and invasive federal government. Are you an American on foreign soil suspected of engaging in crimes against the United States? The President can use a hell fire missile from a drone to smite you. Make a video that is scapegoated for enflaming parts of the Middle East and you are in jail for violating parole terms. Call someone? Well, your number, the number you called, and the duration of the call, are all recorded. Don’t worry, government officials tell us.
Indeed. For if you told me that the IRS would target Americans of a certain political persuasion, I would have told you to stop drinking the paranoid juice. But as we have found, that is exactly what another powerful, so-called independent agency was doing for years. Tea Party groups are still pending tax-exempt status while progressive groups were swept right through. Yes, don’t worry indeed.
With the scandals surrounding the IRS, the lies around Benghazi, the naming of a reporter as a co-conspirator for doing his job, and now the snooping of millions of Americans, one has to wonder just how much this government can take before Americans say no more.
As Americans, we must heed the words of Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We have already given up too much, too many liberties, too much power to the federal government. It is time to take them back.