I had a conversation with an attorney yesterday who raised an interesting point. Now that the world knows the NSA is engaged in massive domestic spying and collecting personal communications data including phone “meta” on all Americans: People in other countries are beginning to question whether America is a free country after all.
A Chinese citizen was recently quoted in the media to that affect as referenced elsewhere in this website.
My friend pointed out that despite the NSA’s domestic spying and mass surveillance programs, we Americans are still more free than that Chinese citizen, we still have more rights. (Has that become the new standard: This week America is still more free than China and North Korea?)
This is a great country and today we still enjoy more rights and freedom than most others on this planet. The question is why do we have those rights and freedom?
Is it because we are better than that Chinese citizen? Is it because we are smarter than he? Is it because we are kinder than he? Are we more ethical than he?
The answer to each of these is no. He is a man with the same potential for good and evil and kindness and stupidity that we have. But we have one thing that he does not have. The US Constitution. That has made all the difference. The most important part of our Constitution is arguably the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. That is what we have.
The Bill of Rights is just a piece of paper. That man in China has paper too. Maybe he can copy the Bill of Rights; But what good will that do him unless someone is willing to defend his Bill of Rights: To protest and demand that it be followed?
In America men were willing to fight and overthrow a King; Many of them died in that struggle. That is how our Bill of Rights was established. Each generation, until now, has safeguarded those rights and even expanded them in a way that would have made our ancestors proud.
I cannot be much help to that man in China, but I can work my hardest to help myself and my neighbors before our Bill of Rights is just paper. That paper can not defend itself against the NSA mass surveillance and domestic spying program. If we are so apathetic that we can not even stand up and protest what is happening to our Constitution, then we will lose our freedom.
Communist East Germany had a constitution which “guaranteed” numerous rights and freedoms to its people. But the people of East Germany were slaves to their government because their rulers could ignore and violate their toothless constitution. Our Constitution can not defend itself. It is just a piece of paper. But I love that paper and I have enough knowledge of history to know that thousands of men have fought and died to insure that we have the rights listed in those Bill of Rights.
Right now our government is openly violating our rights including the right to be free from the seizure of our records, communications and personal documents, as fully described in the 4th Amendment. These NSA domestic spying programs and the mass surveillance of our citizens is unconstitutional and is a violation of the rights of every American.
Are we sheep to be shorn? Are we the weakest generation? Are we going to allow mass surveillance and domestic spying on each and every one of us?
Stand up damn you. Stand up. You don’t need to fight like your forefathers. You just need to use your voice. Is that too much for you little rabbit?