The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

America trembles as liberty dies

Don’t Tread on Me
 America trembles as liberty dies
America trembles as liberty dies

America trembles as liberty dies

Welcome to the United Police States of America. Please checkyour civil liberties at the door.

As our fearless president prepares to lead our nation into anunprovoked war with an atrophied Middle Eastern pariah state, otherforces within our government are preparing for a battle of adifferent kind. Under the guise of fighting internationalterrorism, our attorney general is coordinating an assault onAmerican freedom.

The name of this latest offensive is the Domestic SecurityEnhancement Act. Recently leaked to the public while being readiedfor Congressional submission, the DSEA is a truly dangerous pieceof legislation that would give our federal overlords a range ofauthority unprecedented in American history.

Alongside the vile Patriot Act, the DSEA could very well be theharbinger of a very different America.

If you’re not afraid of the direction our nation is taking,you’re not paying attention. If you think that you should not mindthe increasing intrusions of the federal government into our livesunless you are “doing something wrong,” then you’re a fool. Theapparatus our government is putting in place is nothing less thanthe foundation of a police state. And at no point in recent historyhas such a framework been assembled and then not used.

If you care about America, if you care about freedom, then youshould be afraid. Very afraid.

The powers provided to the government in the DSEA are legion,and read like the plot of a dystopian science fiction novel. Butthough the whole affair strikes an Orwellian pose, this is not1984. This is reality. This is the agenda of Attorney General JohnAshcroft, a religious fanatic who has accused those who protest thegovernment’s recent trampling of civil liberties of supportingterrorism.

Ashcroft’s DSEA would empower the government to tap andintercept the telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages ofunsuspecting Americans with little to no judicial or Congressionaloversight. It would limit the press’ access to data on governmentactivities, circumventing the Freedom of Information Act. It wouldput in place the mechanisms necessary for federal authorities toimprison virtually anyone they want, without even levying charges.Think that couldn’t happen in America? Don’t be so naive.

Under the DSEA, the government would have the ability to applythe label “terrorist” to virtually any group, and in some casesdeport American residents for involvement with such organizations.The bill includes no standards by which an organization might bejudged “terrorist,” save for the whim of the attorney general. Apost-DSEA America would be one where Ashcroft could deem any groupa terrorist threat and detain many of its members indefinitely.Even groups like the ACLU could stand condemned, should theattorney general wish it.

Those so imprisoned would have no right to a trial by jury, alawyer or even a court hearing, for the government could simplydeclare them “enemy combatants” and throw them into Camp X-Ray. Theattorney general could ex-patriate these lawful American residentsto anywhere he wants – be it Canada, the United Kingdom or evenSyria. So much for our “sweet land of liberty.”

Would this happen? One would like to think not. But the moment abill like the DSEA goes into effect, such a purge of all politicalopposition could occur in order to “defend the nation fromterrorism.” And once the apparatus is in place to allow suchbehavior there would be almost no easy way to dismantle it.

Those who acquire such power rarely let it go when the means topreserve it are at their disposal. If the DSEA passes we could soonfind ourselves under an oppressive framework whose very designprevents us from undoing it. Every step we take down this road is astep we cannot take back.

Unless those of us who care about liberty raise our voices inprotest now, democracy in America may fall victim to the cowardiceof those unwilling to risk the dangers inherent in freedom.

We cannot cower in fear of the fanatics who live abroad and thuslet the fanatics among us trample our vital liberties. Patriotismis not supporting what your country does, but supporting what isbest for your country. What is best for America is liberty.Patriotism demands that we condemn the DSEA and it’s progenitor,John Ashcroft.

Liberty is dangerous. Liberty is messy. Liberty puts us at risk,but it is worth the risk, for a life without liberty is no life atall. Americans may learn this lesson painfully if we do not bandtogether to stop Congress from passing this noxious proposal.

George Washington once said that “a government is like a fire: ahandy servant, but a dangerous master.” If we allow the passage ofthe DSEA, we will be setting alight a blaze that none of us will beable to control.

Who will be the master then? And who will be the servant?

More to Discover