Today is the Fourth of July, a great opportunity to reflect upon what it means to be an American. Certain values, such as liberty, justice, equality, and democracy, have long defined what is unique about the American experiment. These values were outlined in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution and then elaborated upon by many True Patriots over the years.
It is now apparent that the United States has fallen to the False Patriots. These are people who cloak them selves in the flag while peppering their oratory with the words of the True Patriots. However, their actions reveal their true selves.
The False Patriots place security above the right to legal counsel and due process. They believe that it is appropriate to detain individuals, even American citizens, indefinitely, secretly, and without access to our legal system. The False Patriots claim that is because those detained are terrorists, but they cannot make such a claim without first rejecting the belief that all are presumed innocent until proven guilty. In addition, the secrecy of their actions makes abuse possible, even likely. Political foes can be swept up just as easily as those suspected of criminal activity.
The False Patriots believe in torture. In doing so, they reject individual dignity as well as various federal and international prohibitions against inhumane treatment.
The False Patriots reject democracy and equality. They will claim the contrary, but this only holds true as long as those exercising democracy choose in accordance with their wishes. The False Patriots reject an equal voice of non-Americans in the United Nations. They reject the voice of any country that disagrees with US foreign policy and even participated in the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Haiti.
The False Patriots do not believe in the constitutional system of checks and balances. They have used the “signature statement” to effectively veto legislation over 700 times in the past six years. Unlike a veto, Congress cannot override the blocking of legislation in this manner. The False Patriots have also argued, unsuccessfully, that the United States Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over military handling of detainees.
The False Patriots believe in spying on American citizens. They have listened to telephone conversations, examined financial and communications records, and monitored purchases. Perhaps more importantly, they have circumvented the checks that have been put in place to prevent abuse of our surveillance resources.
Some have argued that there is no “foul” in this type of spying. They say that those who are doing no wrong have nothing to fear. Yet, the American concept of liberty holds that one should be free from such government scrutiny. The False Patriots have installed thousands of security and police cameras in public places across the country, but the True Patriot believes in the value of being able to walk down the street without Big Brother looking over one’s shoulder.
And that is what we have, Big Brother. Taken individually, each of the above actions is a strong statement against the values that America holds dear. Taken together, they create an Orwellian nightmare where our Constitution has been shredded and the ideals of our forefathers dashed.
It is easy to tell how one’s values are prioritized when they come into conflict. Choosing security over liberty is not inherently wrong, but it does illustrate an attempt to redefine what it means to be an American. What makes America unique is that we place values such as liberty, justice, equality, and democracy above all others.
So, let the True Patriots rise and begin the task of taking back the country. Happy Fourth of July!