Tuesday, May 22, 2012

There are things that actually matter

To hear some people tell it, this great republic of ours is on the brink of disintegration. We’re just days away from the annihilation of the Constitution and being run by the United Nations or George Soros. Or worse — both!

While I disagree that George Soros or the U.N. are the enemy, to a large extent, I agree with the doom-and-gloom crowd. I think we’re at a crossroads and it’s time to choose freedom. It’s time to remind the government that they serve our needs. Not the other way around.

Now, I’m not calling for armed insurrection, but it’s worth noting that we overthrew our English overlords for much less than our own government is doing to us right now. Yet there are many who are perfectly content to let government run their lives because it’s easier than being responsible for themselves. They’ve got a bowl full of Dinty Moore and Major League Baseball on their television. Who needs freedom?

The ancient Roman strategy of bread and circus served the Empire of Rome well. And it serves Congress well, too. As long as we’ve got food to eat and something to keep us entertained, we’ll ignore the fact that Congress is draining us of all that’s truly important — our worth and our liberty.

While we spend all our time bickering over who should have the right to marry (a religious institution that I don’t think government should have a say in in the first place), Congress tried to gut the First Amendment in the form of SOPA and later, CISPA.

While those of us with limited means fight to get what we can from the 1 percent, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing for indefinite military detention without charge or trial.

The NDAA is ugly. It’s like the Patriot Act had a little brother and that little brother is really mean. It’s an affront to the Fourth Amendment among other things. It stops just short of declaring the United States a war zone and imposing permanent martial law. And we should work to stop it. Just like we should work to stop a lot of the things that the state and federal governments are doing to us. But we’re bogged down talking about birth control.

Combine the two ugly acronyms — NDAA and CISPA — and you get A SIC PANDA. You also get a nation where you can be arrested and detained for anything or nothing and have no due process, nor an ability to even complain about it publicly.

You may say I’m being dramatic and exaggerating the issue and that we’ll never let it get that far. I’d like to think that was true. But I didn’t think we’d ever let it get this far.

It got this far because we were distracted — by American Idol, gay marriage, abortion and the NBA playoffs. We need to start paying attention to the things that matter.