"Those who sacrifice essential liberty for temporary safety are not deserving of either liberty or safety."
— Ben Franklin, 1776
In the wake of 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks around the world, there is a real temptation to allow the government to take away some of our most precious rights in exchange for greater security. We must resist this temptation. In order to have a free society, there are certain prices that have to be paid. One of those is the possibility that someone will take advantage of our freedom and use it as an opportunity to endanger us. So what if they do? Giving up any part of our freedom is not the answer. In fact, that’s exactly what the terrorists want. When we do that, they win.
The U.S.A. Patriot Act is a step in the wrong direction and could represent a slippery slope toward further erosion of our rights. Write your Representative and Senators and ask them to repeal the U.S.A. Patriot Act and avoid passing similar legislation in the future. If we don’t do something soon, the U.S. could soon have policies similar to many communist, fascist, and Muslim fundamentalist countries, all under the guise of greater security!
People have accused me of being "obsessive and overzealous" on this issue but that’s okay with me. Ask some of the senior citizens in Cuba who have been under Castro’s repressive regime for 45 years how they feel now. I bet many of them wish they would have been a little more "obsessive and overzealous" about their freedom in 1959, instead of standing by passively when the communists took over. Look what it’s gotten them!
If some of those currently under Muslim rule in the Arab world were free to say what they thought about their situations now, I bet many of them would tell you they wish they would have been a little more "obsessive and overzealous" about protecting their freedom instead of sitting by passively and letting the Muslim fundamentalists take over.
What about North Korea? Could a few more "obsessive and overzealous" defenders of freedom have prevented that country becoming the communist threat to the world that it is today?
What about Nazi Germany? Could Hitler’s rise to power have been nipped in the bud if his opponents had been a little more "obsessive and overzealous" instead of being so timid? Could we have used a few more "obsessive and overzealous" defenders of civil liberties in Germany when six million Jews were losing their lives?
What if George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the other Founding Fathers would have just given in to England’s demands instead of being so "obsessive and overzealous" about their freedom? And Patrick Henry? Surely he was an "obsessive and overzealous" person if there ever was one. Why he was even "obsessive and overzealous" enough to say "give me liberty or give me death" and really mean it!
There are plenty of well-meaning but misguided and fearful individuals out there who are lobbying Congress to limit our First and Second Amendment, habeas corpus, and other rights even further. We must let our voices be heard or the voices of those people will be the only ones they hear. It only takes a few minutes to make a difference. Of course, it doesn’t take any time at all to sit back and let your rights completely erode. The choice is yours.
"I would remind you that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice."
— Barry Goldwater, 1964