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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Patriot Act needs to go out the door

  • There is troubling news coming out of Washington when it comes to eavesdropping on American citizens.
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  • There is troubling news coming out of Washington when it comes to eavesdropping on American citizens.
    And it is nothing new.
    Earlier this week, it was learned the government is monitoring calls made by Verizon customers — and there are probably other companies involved, as well.
    The official spin on this from the Obama administration is that it's for national security purposes.
    Isn't that what they always say?
    This issue is nothing new. It all began following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
    After that horrible day in America, lawmakers decided it was time to start delving into the private lives of citizens. They did they by passing the Patriot Act, which gave broad powers to those in charge of the government.
    That was the biggest mistake made after 9/11.
    It some ways, it is understandable how it happened given the circumstances.
    However, that does not make it right.
    The Bush administration is as guilty as the current group of taking that power and using it under the guise of national security.
    The problem here is fundamental — this country was founded on freedom and freedom comes with risks.
    You will never find problems like this in places like North Korea or China. That's because the government has full control over every aspect of society. That is the very reason this country was founded.
    Our founders were tired of repression and tired of being told how to run their lives.
    They, in turn, to the extraordinary step of forming their own country and fighting those they were escaping.
    Page 2 of 3 - That is America.
    Even back then, they knew the risks associated with freedom. They know others would try to do them harm and their chances would be greater because of the openness of our society.
    Yet they pushed on, knowing full well that developing our constitution and bill of rights would make us vulnerable — but also make us a free society.
    It was the greatest societal experiment ever created and has continued to work for more than 200 years.
    And it has worked.
    Certainly, the events of Sept. 11 were awful for this country, however, since that time we have moved forward and continue to operate under principles of freedom.
    Yet in those ensuing 12 years, our freedoms have been compromised by our own government.
    It began under Bush (with Dick Cheney) and has continued under Obama.
    This is a shame.
    It certainly is true the average person has no concept what it must be like to be in charge of the most powerful country in the world. The daily decisions must be mind boggling.
    But that does not mean our freedoms should be compromised in the name of national security. In fact, it means the opposite.
    We are a very resilient society, something we have shown since the Revolutionary War to Normandy to 9/11. We do survive.
    All Americans should be troubled by what we are finding out about the government and how it uses the "national security" issue to invade the privacy of Americans.
    The good news in all of this is how the opponents are speaking out. There are no party lines on this issue. People of all stripes are outraged and seem to be tired of these excuses.
    Page 3 of 3 - Hopefully, they can pull enough people together to do the ultimate justice — get rid of the Patriot Act. That is the best fix possible.
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