Monday, June 20, 2011

The slow drip of tyranny

I came across the following message on one of the listservs I frequent the other day:
When did we as a society decide it was ok for the government to put electronic policing devices in our private homes and cars and to make up pee in cups every time we turn around? who is to blame? 
If everyone simply refused to comply with those conditions, what would happen?
Freedom is what would happen.

But it won't. We live in a society of lemmings. Few people are willing to rock the boat and those that do are labeled "troublemaker" and "subversive."

We have meekly turned to the state and asked it to protect us. We have decided that we would rather be safe than free. That we would rather have order than liberty.

We have sat by and watched as the state has whittled down the protections of the Bill of Rights. We have stood by as the police and courts have sliced, diced and chopped the Fourth Amendment into a meaningless melange of words on a piece of paper. Words now devoid of meaning.

We did nothing as the state assaulted our right to remain silent and not incriminate ourselves. We stood in awe as the Supreme Court made a mockery of the Fifth Amendment. Instead of having the right to remain silent and speak with an attorney before answering questions, the state now has the right to question us without an attorney unless we say otherwise.

We sat there blissfully unaware as our right to counsel was cut out from underneath us. We've allowed the Supreme Court to decide just what constitutes a critical moment in the criminal (in)justice system. I'm sorry, but being accosted by the police is the critical moment. Did someone along the way forget that we have the right to be left alone?

We have gladly handed over our freedom to the tools of the police state at airports and at the entrances to courthouses across this land. We have allowed the state to molest our children and terrorize the old, the sick and the infirm in the name of "protecting" us from terrorism.

We have gone from a society in which men were not afraid to sign their own death warrant by signing the Declaration of Independence to a society in which we are scared shitless to do anything that might bring attention to ourselves. We have gone from a society that took up arms and fought for its independence to a society that willingly bends over and takes whatever the state sends our way.

Why are we were we are now? It's because no one drew a line in the dirt and dared the powers of the state to cross it. It's because no one was willing to stand up and challenge the authorities.

Thomas Jefferson once said that "every generation needs a revolution."

We had one in 1776. Another one in the 1860's. Maybe it's time. Again.

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