Independence Day Entry...MIA?
So this year I have every intention of doing an entry for Independence Day or, for those of you who think it's all about barbecues and pyrotechnics, the Fourth Of July. I spent the days leading up to it and the day of and a few days after trying to figure out what I wanted to say. There were a lot of things that I wanted to say, but I just couldn't figure out which ones I wanted to put down. No luck. Nothing stuck out in my mind. The prevailing thought was anger. It was what I felt and still feel. Then like a ton of bricks it hit me. There was something else beyond anger that I was feeling. A couple somethings and I think I will talk about them both here. It's been a few days too long to really count this as my Independence day entry, but what the fuck, I make the rules write? (P.S.-Pun intended.)
When I think about America, my heart swells with a great pride. I wish I could say that I am just giving that lip service. Then it would be easier to decry what I think is the horrible state of affairs in this country. See, I am one of those freaks of nature that are apparently part of a dying breed. I carry a copy of the constitution with me a lot of the time and on occasion I still yank it out and read it. Each time I am still amazed at the thought and care that went into each page of it. I know it’s not perfect. I know that those men left out many things, but that’s where I see the beauty in it. They also left it open so that anything they missed could be added. Anything could be taken away. They set it up so that America could change with the times and still have a solid foundation. It is not a perfect document, but they made it so that we could always make it more perfect with passing time and effort.
America has long been regarded as “The Great Experiment”. Indeed. One of the greatest if you ask me, although most people don’t. They don’t really need to. I tend to go on about it. I’m not always right, but I also encourage others to show me when I am not.
See, to me, America is a country that can always fix itself. Those men set it up that way. America is perpetually evolving. It is always moving and growing and changing and I will be the first to admit that sometimes, oftentimes, it changes to fast for some of us. Some things never change though. America will always be “The Great Experiment”.
There is a darker side to that though, in my opinion. America has an undercurrent of respect and structure that many people do not question and I think many more don’t care to.
America has moved, slowly at first, in a rapid new direction. The people of this country don’t spend enough time with their government and their government, for the most part, doesn’t spend any time with America.
We have moved into a new age. American are now willing to sacrifice their civil liberties to be free from the specter of terrorism. Terrorism has become the new form of government in my opinion. There are those that argue that the government has slowly been subverting us for years. That we have slowly been falling under the rule of a police state. That may be true and it may not. I just don’t know.
I’ll tell you what I do know. Right now our government is committing crimes against us. They are watching us ALL in new and unprecedented ways. Phone calls, banking, library cards. They are watching us on levels never seen in such a scope and in new ways. They are doing it WITH the approval of a large part of the population. I don’t know if that large part really believes that it’s the right thing to do or if they are just following the President or if they just don’t know what else to do. I just don’t know. All I know is that it should deeply offend every American. It should offend every person who ever took pride in the people who defend us. It should offend every person who ever defended us. It should offend every person who ever voted or thought about voting. It should offend every person who considers themselves American. There are some motherfuckers in this country who will say that anyone who doesn’t have anything to hide doesn’t need to worry about. What a sorry fucking excuse. There are a lot of people in the world who aren’t ashamed of their bodies, but you don’t see them out walking naked. There are a lot of people who aren’t criminals who don’t want strangers traipsing through their house.
It is pretty goddamned twisted when someone who really wants to live a private life is come down on because they do not want the government going through their privacy at will. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like that when I express that sometimes I am made to feel ashamed. There are people who believe that someone who wants to protect their privacy may really have something to hide. This new mentality casts a shadow on anyone who feels this way.
Anger was one of the emotions I felt. Pride was another, but today I realized which one it was that I couldn’t put my finger on.
The other night when I was watching the fireworks I couldn’t help but think of the troops. Jonathan said that there are troops in Iraq who probably fear the sounds, the booms, that we were basking in. When he said that I started thinking about the war and America and the new mentality and the great pride I felt in this country that was coupled with a new kind of shame and suddenly as I watched those fireworks I had tears in my eyes, but there was some other emotion that I couldn’t put my fingers on until I had a few days to think about it.
Fear. Not your typical fear of terrorists or the economy, but fear of that new mentality and the ramifications of it. Fear of the apathy sweeping the nation and the helplessness that stems it. Fear of the politicians who are too busy trying to RUN the government that they apparently don’t realize they are destroying it. Fear of the belief that there are people who want to stop this but don’t know how. Fear of the belief that there are people out there who want to stop, but think it’s too big. Worse yet, fear of the people out there who think it’s okay. People who don’t mind sacrificing what they think is a luxury. People who don’t mind giving up their rights to combat the terrorists. People who just don’t understand the rights they have and don’t really care.
Fear of “The Great Experiment” being a failure because the mad scientists took over and the good ones just went home.
The Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.