What Happened to America?

America, once known as a land for new opportunity and bountiful freedom has fallen behind on the promise that it has to all of its citizens.

Thanks to a cocktail of recent (and not so recent) bills, freedoms that Americans once took for granted are now in danger; including, but not limited to, your first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth amendment.

Bills such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 (HR 347), and the USA PATRIOT act (patriot act) have curbed freedom in under the cover of “security” but as Ben Franklin put it “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

Provisions NDAA allow the president to lock up any American citizen or person on US territory with no reason, due process, or trial. Although public outcry followed the passage of the bill the president didn’t seem to be bothered when he signed the bill.

HR 347 makes it a felony –with a penalty of up to 10 years—to protest outside of a location of “national importance” or a special event of “national significance” or any place where secret service agents are present. This provision affects many locations, ranging from the NYSE to the Super Bowl to a hotel that Mitt Romney happens to be staying at. The bill was passed unanimously in the senate and only had 3 ‘no’ votes in the house: Rep.Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. Justin Amash( R-MI) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). Sadly, my favorite advocate for liberty, Ron Paul (R-TX) abstained from the vote.

The oldest of the laws, the Patriot Act, was passed in 2001 in response to the attack on the World Trade Center. The law completely oversteps the fourth amendment; allowing the Department of Homeland Security to wiretap your phone, search you internet history, among other things. The worst part? It has barely even been used for terrorism. Of the 1,755 times the bill has been used (a little much?) only 15 of them have been for terrorism. Most of the uses were for drug cases. That is only 0.85% of the time.

Politicians seem to have the system configured as to construct a more authoritarian government. First they allow federal agencies to bypass the fourth amendment to monitor citizens (1984 anyone?), then they give the president the power to put anyone in prison as long as he feels like for no reason, then they make it illegal to protest the decisions that they have made.

The legislation that is coming out of Washington has a clear message stamped to it, “Comply to the government and it will all be easier. Conform to our wishes and you will be able to live your comfortable life. Because remember, if you don’t, big brother is watching you.”

The American government is becoming more and more authoritarian, and its time that we take a stand for our rights.