Voice of the People: America Already Made Its Choices Balancing Freedom & Security

Voice of the People by James J. Devineby James J. Devine

Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” America needs to remember that in Iraq we sent more of our own soldiers to death and ruined ten times as many U.S. lives as al Qaeda inflicted on us on Sept. 11, 2011. We also wasted more money on war than those attacks cost our country. The price of lost liberty and global antipathy are incalculable.

America should make some smart choices, preserving privacy and ending secret programs that deprive citizens of control over their own government. Bradley Manning showed that the US Army slaughtered two unarmed Reuters journalists and then lied about it; so he should be a free hero and not a persecuted man on trial for his life.

I spent 30 minutes on line waiting to go through metal detectors at a private amusement park, where I was no safer than I was at the Bronx Zoo or the Jersey shore, where there were no such silly ‘security’ delays. Let’s stop sating our paranoia, establish some meaningful security systems at airports and similar locations, and take down the police state created by worrisome Republican George Bush. This is the home of the brave, not insane cowards!

Let’s have some common sense gun regulations, such as universal buyer background checks, registration, ammo tracers, require owners to have insurance and manufacturer liability. Let’s restore the freedom erased in the national panic after 9-11, such as the PATRIOT Act, FISA, telecom immunity laws, torture, unwarranted detainment without court access, and so many more…

Be brave, America. To end the war of terror by stop being terrorized, just give up your feelings of fear. The only thing we need to fear is fear itself… and our crippling cowardice proves that that fear is far worse than the imagined or real things of which we have been so very afraid. The devastation inflicted by our military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere is far greater than the injuries we suffered twelve years ago and equally unjustified for many of the victims of that destructive power.

President Barack Obama invoked Abraham Lincoln in his first inauguration, when he made the promise of “a new birth of freedom” to which we must now be more highly resolved, because a “government of the people, for the people, by the people” cannot support a massive and meaningless system of secrecy.

Times have changed in many ways but technological advances have not altered the foundation of our principles.

More recently, Obama declared that America is “going to have to make some choices” balancing privacy and security, defending his formerly secret programs that sweep up an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day and amass Internet data from countless citizens.

Patrick Henry spoke for America when we made that choice, a long, long time ago: “Give me liberty or give me death!”

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