Voice Of The People: This Used To Be A Free Country

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By James J. Devine

It is about time that we drop the panic mode and return to normal.

In today’s era of heightened security and public panic, you’re not allowed to have uncontrolled people just milling around the Statehouse halls, meeting with their representatives and engaging in the democratic process.

I have to question, why not?


As a young man, I worked at the Statehouse and freely wondered about during crowded legislative session days as well as on days when the place was nearly abandoned. I frequently stepped inside interior parts of the governor’s office complex to visit key staff on routine matters without passing through metal detectors, explaining my purposes or showing identification to armed guards.

In all those years we never had a problem and now that New Jersey taxpayers are being soaked for thousands or millions of dollars while citizens are made to endure police state conditions, there is still not a single incident to justify those expenses or the gross infringements on the liberty that is such a key part of our American experience.

Gov. Chris Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak said he wasn’t aware that public employee members were turned away from the Statehouse but added, “we leave security decisions up to the State Police.”

Security decisions should be based on logic and reality, not unbridled fear. Ten years ago, 19 men with box cutters defeated a $400 billion a year defense budget and destroyed the World Trade Center. A decade of multiple wars costing a trillion dollars and an $800 billion a year defense budget have made us no safer but we are less free.

Sacrificing our freedom is capitulating to the terrorists. This is the goal they set out to achieve and I would like to deny them the victory delivered so readily by Republican President George W. Bush and his evil henchmen.

I would like to see President Barack Obama step up and declare that we are free again, from terror and fear and unrealistic concerns about attacks that will probably never come. Eleven times the number of people died in United States traffic crashes in 2009 than perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

George W. Bush killed more American soldiers by putting them in harm’s way than Osama bin Laden killed civilians by ordering those hijackings, but al Qaeda did not deprive any American of their Constitutional rights. We did that to ourselves.

While one might conclude that the Republican party is actually a terrorist front group, corporate controlled establishment Democrats have a shabby record on protecting freedom, too.

President Obama has ordered attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Kenya, Algeria and now Libya.

As a presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama emphatically stated, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

“They hate us because we bomb them,” said Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle who stated that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has now ordered bombing strikes in six different predominantly Muslim countries: Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, who wanted to bring impeachment articles against both former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq — only to be blocked by his own leadership — deserves applause for asking why the U.S. missile strikes aren’t impeachable offenses for President Barack Obama.

Virtually every other member of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, has failed to address this fundamental disconnect between what we claim to be and what we are.

America’s military power is not license to kill anyone anywhere for any reason. After 30 years of one-sided class warfare waged against working people, 98 percent of the country is rapidly losing ground to the richest two percent. Americans are virtually strip-searched as they board airplanes and some politicians are discussing the idea of denying citizenship to people who are born in this country.

Peace, prosperity and freedom have lost all meaning in the new America and that’s not what I want to hand down to my children. No amount of dishonesty will make this wrong situation right.

I propose that we fight against terrorism by celebrating our freedom, by behaving rationally without fear and by recalling our global network of military personnel, now stationed in 150 nations when we ought to be primarily concerned with protecting one.

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