Americans are sacrificing freedom for the illusion of security
To the Editor:
In the final analysis, we’re all Americans. What does that mean? For me, it means that we had the great fortune of being born or becoming a citizen in a country that is unique in history.
For it is in America that people were given unalienable freedoms as established in the Constitution. “Freedom” isn’t just a word to be tossed around lightly or taken for granted. It means we are sovereign unto ourselves as long as we do not infringe on our neighbors’ freedoms.
Increasingly, however, Americans have been willing to hand more personal liberty over to the government, believing that government will provide for them in one form or another. We increasingly look to our government for services, for provision of financial assistance, and for security.
But the trade-offs, to be sure, affect our personal rights, liberty, freedom, and financial viability. To finance the trade-offs, average Americans pay nearly 50 percent, in various forms, of all they earn to the government. It is still not enough.
Our nation faces nearly $10 trillion in debt. That’s $10,000,000,000,000. We’d better start taking a much closer look at the ramifications of expecting so much from the government.
My friends run the political gamut. They are Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Not one of them advocates spending this country into oblivion. Not one of them favors intrusive government. Not one of them favors living in a nation where we cannot be free to run our own lives with regard to educating our children, running our businesses, or managing our own property.
But, that is exactly what we are getting. Think about it. We’re jumping through a great number of hoops to satisfy the trade-offs, are we not?
We have seen particularly large trade-offs in the area of “security.” We’ve learned that there are many threats “out there,” from which we all need protecting. Mr. William Hamilton’s writing often comes back around to the threat of terrorism ” domestic terrorism was one of his latest themes.
To keep us safe from all of these threats, our government has handed down the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the Warner Defense Authorization Act, and most recently, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Protection Bill.
A brief study will demonstrate to all who have an interest that these Acts wipe out all but a few of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. These Acts, by the way, do nothing to address the facts that our borders are left wide open; that those who would do us harm are still able to fly right on in; and that our ports are left widely unprotected.
Far more frightening to me than guys wearing turbans, living in caves in the Middle East and plotting against the most powerful military in the world, is the end of what it means to be an American. To the extent that the very fabric of our Nation has become unraveled, the terrorists have won.
So, the next time we are getting patted down in an airport, think about it ” we are paying dearly in every conceivable way for Big Government provisions. Our children, and theirs, will experience the greatest burden. We teach them to work hard, to save, and to avoid debt. Most of them will attempt to live in this responsible manner, only to see their efforts rewarded with ever-increasing demands for tax payments to a government that is fiscally irresponsible, is often ineffective, and worse, intrusively so.
All the while, the meaning of what it is to be an “American” with rights, liberty, and freedom, becomes increasingly illusive.
Are the trade-offs worth it? I, for one, would be satisfied with far less from government.
Elena K. Campbell
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