by R. Lee Wrights
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and thus clamorous to be led to safety), by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H.L. Mencken
BURNET, Texas (June 1) – Using the same tactics of secrecy, deceit, outright lies and fear that they have been using for ten years, Democrats and Republicans steamrolled over the opposition and stampeded Congress into renewing several provisions of the Patriotic Act last week. Once again, both Democrats and Republicans dishonored their oath of office and voted for a bill that will continue to erode the freedom and liberty of all Americans. Thanks to Congress, score another victory for every terrorist in the world who seeks to destroy the land of the free and home of the brave.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even went so far as to accuse Sen. Rand Paul of wanting to put “guns in the hands of terrorists” for daring to offer amendments to the law to protect the liberties of Americans. Sen. Paul had better be careful, because such actions could be construed by federal prosecutors as giving “material aide” to terrorists under the Patriot Act.
At the same time the bipartisan leadership was ram-rodding this bill through the Senate, war-hawks in the House of Representatives were quietly voting to give the president the power to take our country to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. In a typical tactic used when politicians fear a public outcry, they buried this grant of monarchical power to the president in a defense appropriation bill.
America has became a nation of “knocking knees, sweating foreheads, and folks who jump too high at any sound,” as James Bovard noted in his book “Attention Deficit Democracy.” What is worse yet is that the ruling elites of our country in both major parties support and encourage this fear at every opportunity in order to consolidate and expand their power.
Terrorism does indeed pose a greater threat to freedom and liberty today than at any time in history, before or after Sept. 11, 2001. But the threat isn’t caused by any plan or action of any foreign terrorist. The greatest threat posed by terrorism is being engineered by the very people who we elect to protect our rights here at home.
The Patriot Act is, in fact, one of the greatest victories the terrorists have achieved. The original bill was the direct result of a grand manipulation of fear after the horrific events of 9/11. By killing only a few thousand citizens the terrorists achieved exactly what they set out to do. With one horrendous act of mass murder they were able to send untold millions into such a panic that they have turned their backs on the very things this great country was founded and built upon.
While we still remember and mourn the deaths of the 3,000 people killed in the first tragedy of 9/11, Americans have sadly forgotten the two victims of the second tragedy. Lying buried beneath the tons of stone and steel that once was the World Trade Center, along with thousands of innocent Americans killed, were those precious American siblings — Liberty and Freedom.
The first tragedy of 9/11 was so terrible and so horrific that most Americans have completely ignored the second, which is like tremors following a major earthquake. Unfortunately, these perpetual aftershocks are causing more damage than the quake itself. And sadly, the damage will increase so long as we continue to ignore the real threat to our liberty — the fear that causes us to sacrifice everything we hold dear upon the altar of a false god called National Security.
The most dangerous threat to our beloved freedom and liberty is allowing the fear of the world to blind us to the terror we face at home. We have become a nation in a perpetual state of war, where our leaders routinely and casually dishonor their oaths of office, and disregard the fundamental law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. A country where the people complacently and sheepishly accept every limit on their freedom and liberty is a nation that is doomed to destruction — just what the terrorists wanted all along.
R. Lee Wrights, 52, a libertarian writer and political activist, is seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.