Everything this nation once stood for is being turned on its head.
Free speech, religious expression, privacy, due process, bodily integrity, the sanctity of human life, the sovereignty of the family, individuality, the right to self-defense, protection against police abuses, representative government, private property, human rights -- the very ideals that once made this nation great -- have become casualties of a politically correct, misguided, materialistic, amoral, militaristic culture.
Indeed, I'm having a hard time reconciling the America I know and love with the America being depicted in the daily news headlines, where corruption, cronyism and abuse have taken precedence over the rights of the citizenry and the rule of law.
What kind of country do we live in where it's acceptable for police to shoot unarmed citizens, for homeowners to be jailed for having overgrown lawns, for kids to be tasered and pepper sprayed for acting like kids at school, and for local governments to rake in hefty profits under the guise of traffic safety?
Why should we Americans have to put up with the government listening in on our phone calls, spying on our emails, subjecting us to roadside strip searches, and generally holding our freedoms hostage in exchange for some phantom promises of security?
As I document in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it doesn't matter where you live -- big city or small town -- it's the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.
In such an environment, it's not just our Fourth Amendment rights -- which protect us against police abuses -- that are being trampled. It's also our First Amendment rights to even voice concern over these practices that are being muzzled. Just consider some of the First Amendment battles that have taken place in recent years, and you too will find yourself wondering what country you're living in:
• Harold Hodge was arrested for standing silently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, holding a sign in protest of police tactics.
• Marine Brandon Raub was arrested for criticizing the government on Facebook.
• Pastor Michael Salman was arrested for holding Bible studies in his home.
• Kenneth Webber was fired from his job as a schoolbus driver for displaying a Confederate flag on the truck he uses to drive from home to school and back.
• Fred Marlow was arrested for filming a SWAT team raid that took place across from his apartment.
And then there were the three California high school public school students who were ordered to turn their American flag t-shirts inside out on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) because school officials were afraid it might cause a disruption and/or offend Hispanic students.
While there are all kinds of labels being put on so-called "unacceptable" speech today, from calling it politically incorrect and hate speech to offensive and dangerous speech, the real message being conveyed is that Americans don't have a right to express themselves if what they are saying is unpopular, controversial or at odds with what the government determines to be acceptable.
What we're seeing is the caging of free speech and the asphyxiation of the First Amendment.
Long before the menace of the police state, with its roadside strip searches, surveillance drones, and SWAT team raids, it was our First Amendment rights that were being battered by political correctness, hate crime legislation, the war on terror and every other thinly veiled rationale used to justify censoring our free speech rights.
By suppressing free speech, the government is contributing to a growing underclass of Americans who are being told that they can't take part in American public life unless they "fit in." Mind you, it won't be long before anyone who believes in holding the government accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law is labeled an "extremist" and is relegated to an underclass that doesn't fit in and must be watched all the time.
It doesn't matter how much money you make, what politics you subscribe to, or what God you worship: we are all potential suspects, terrorists and lawbreakers in the eyes of the government.
In other words, if and when this nation falls to tyranny, we will all suffer the same fate: we will fall together. However, if it is possible to avert such an outcome, it will rest in us remembering that we are also all descendants of those early American revolutionaries who pushed back against the abuses of the British government.
The colonists' treatment at the hands of the British was not much different from the abuses meted out to the American people today: they too were taxed on everything from food to labor without any real say in the matter, in addition to which they had their homes invaded by armed government agents, their property seized and searched, their families terrorized, their communications, associations and activities monitored, and their attempts to defend themselves and challenge the government's abuses dismissed as belligerence, treachery, and sedition.
Unlike most Americans today, who remain ignorant of the government's abuses, readily persuaded that the government has their best interests at heart, and easily cowed by the slightest show of force, the colonists responded to the government's abuses with outrage, activism and rebellion. They staged boycotts of British goods and organized public protests, mass meetings, parades, bonfires and other demonstrations, culminating with their most famous act of resistance, the Boston Tea Party.
The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it's a history we cannot afford to forget or allow to be rewritten.
The colonists suffered under the weight of countless tyrannies before they finally were emboldened to stand their ground. They attempted to reason with the British crown, to plea their cause, even to negotiate. It was only when these means proved futile that they resorted to outright resistance, civil disobedience and eventually rebellion.
More than 200 years later, we are once again suffering under a long train of abuses and usurpations. What Americans today must decide is how committed they are to the cause of freedom and how far they're willing to go to restore what has been lost.
What are we waiting for?
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