It is safe to say that America was forged as an act of courage, then further refined by generations of courageous men and women. Bravery is the binding that threads together a vast majority of our history’s pages. But are we as brave as we once were?
These last few decades have played host to a series of tragedies that, at face value, appear to threaten our national security. The weaponization of civilian aircraft and household pressure cookers by extremist villains, and the homicidal use of firearms by Nihilist outcasts–often under the influence of psychotropic cocktails–has sent America’s media and the nation into repeated frenzy groping for answers.
The American people led by their government, have responded in the form of war: increased domestic surveillance, encroachment on the nation’s founding freedoms (including firearms), and even attempted Draconian monitoring of personal health. These measures have come at a great cost to basic freedoms for which our Founders bled and died.
Many Americans are oblivious to the abuses of our government on these hard won freedoms, while others do not seem to care. Many look at these growing limits upon us as a price we pay for security, in the process ignoring the admonition of Benjamin Franklin: “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Franklin was correct, in spades, as our government has indeed usurped our liberties while providing dubious “security”. The NSA now collects the phone records of all Americans–in blatant violation of the Constitution–and yet does this with unchecked impunity.
Even worse, the American who exposed the NSA’s practices–Edward Snowden–was effectively run out of the country, while the NSA continues its abuses under the leadership of an Army 4-star General. Even worse, the Obama Administration blatantly lies about this with impunity.
Nixon was forced to resign for lesser offenses.
The NSA justifies its actions by playing to fears when they say, “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”
Australian intelligence writer Bill Calcutt made this observation about the intentions of 9/11 terrorists, “The immediate tactical goal of the terrorists was to damage and humiliate the world’s sole superpower. Their longer-term strategic goal was to catalyse fundamental social change by increasing community insecurity and engendering a disproportionate war-like response.”
There is no denying events like 9/11 and Sandy Hook shake our core, and wounds take time to heal. But in our time of grief and recoil, we must remain vigilant – not giving into encouragements to sacrifice our nation’s fundamental freedoms and again bravely call our government to account for infringing upon our rights.
Our identity must again be the “home of the brave” and not perpetually be that of a fearful people at war, as that is the mindset of a Totalitarian state. Toward that end, we must embrace the Reagan vision of the “shining city on a hill.”
That requires a limited government that stays out of peoples’ personal matters, and that requires a government that does not spy on her own citizens and trusts people to run their own affairs, raise their own children, and carry on their personal business with minimal interference.
That requires a government that understands that war must be a last resort, requiring a Declaration by Congress for execution.
That requires a population that insists on a government that governs not according to fears, but according to the Christian principles on which our system of law and justice rests.