(The Bill of Rights isn't left or right)
by H. Millard (c) 2002

Knees were jerking, knuckles were dragging, mouths were wagging, and jaws were slacking as the reflexive mob from the middle of the bell curve reacted to the events of 9-11 and pushed through the USA Patriot Act. The Act twitched its way to being law just six weeks after the World Trade Center buildings crashed to the ground.

Drunken sailorsThe Act was passed by law makers who seemed to be acting like drunken sailors just before closing time at a floozy bar who wanted to be sure they had make them feel warm and cozy. But, perhaps I unnecessarily impugn drunken sailors by comparing them to our lawmakers. At any rate, in their 9-11 intoxicated state, even this snaggletoothed hag of an Act looked good to those who only wanted to score and feel good. As is often the case under such circumstances, law makers may have gotten more than they bargained for as they forgot, in their haste to get a little, that rush judgments made under such conditions often lead to social diseases. Ahh, but never fear for the health of our lawmakers; the way it works in American politics is that the law makers get the action and the citizens get the disease.

Stop SyphilisIt's been about a year now since the Act was passed and many citizens seem to be developing a rash and a burning sensation from that hasty judgment made a year earlier by Congress. In fact, the Act and its progeny are causing a growing number of good, decent citizens all across the country to jump up and say that the Act is stomping all over the Bill of Rights and has brought into America the specter of 3 a.m. door knocks and worse, all carried out by the equivalent of Secret Police who can, among other things, cause citizens to disappear based on an anonymous tip from a crackpot neighbor with a grudge.

In truth, the Act was well intended and was supposed to make it easy for law enforcement to find and arrest terrorists. Instead, it seems that it is allowing a highly politicized law enforcement establishment and bigoted whack job haters of freedom to claim that those they don't agree with are terrorists. Intellectuals, dissidents and non-conformists on the left and the right can now be labeled terrorists and have a home grown political, social, and religious fatwa issued against them.

Fox-Bush Axis of InvasionLost in the PR spin coming from D.C. about the Act is the fact that that real problem we have with terrorism is a result of open borders and the massive Third World invasion of this nation. Instead of closing our borders and stopping this immigration, many of the same people behind this dangerous and falsely named USA Patriot Act mouth the usual clichés about America being a nation of immigrants and how it's just plain American to have open borders. So, with this attitude as a backdrop, what's really going on is that citizen rights are under attack while a nonexistent right by non-citizens to enter our country, remains intact. What should really happen is that our government should take away non-citizens' phony non-existent right to come here and then it won't have to take away the genuine rights of citizens. Don't count on that happening though, we've got too many goof-balls in charge of our government. Welcome to post-American America; a land made strange to traditional American values and to American citizens.

1984Yes, 1984, Animal Farm, and the KGB all come to mind. In reaction to the potentially repressive nature of the USA Patriot Act, citizens in 45 U.S. towns and cities have now started committees to defend the Bill of Rights. Fifteen of these towns and cities had passed resolutions defending the Bill, when I started writing this column. Now, it's seventeen. By the time you read this, it may be higher and more are on the way. While these resolutions are mostly just symbolic, the thought is that if enough of them are piled up, they could send a message to D.C. that citizens don't want the Bill of Rights messed with.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee's Web site has information about the concrete steps that people can take in their local communities to let the government know that the Bill of Rights is about as sacred as any secular document can be. Although the site has a definite lefty twist to it, those on the right shouldn't be too put off by this, and should edit as needed. The site has some of the petitions and resolutions that have been used and passed in various communities and these, with a little tweaking, can be used by people of all political persuasions. Substitute "citizens" for the lefty lumpen term "residents" which lefties often use these days to blur the line between citizens and illegal aliens and many of the petitions and resolutions are fine. Clearly, what the lefties are trying to do with many of these petitions and resolutions is to retain both unbridled immigration and the Bill of Rights. The problem with this is it doesn't give us the real protection we need from terrorists. It would be better to simply stop immigration. Then we wouldn't need the Act and we'd have both our rights and our safety.

Even with the aforementioned lefty twist to much of the organizing to protect the Bill of Rights, it appears from news reports that citizens from all parts of the political spectrum are concerned about various provisions of the Act. And, they should be. If this Act is used to take away the rights of Emperor Bush IIsome leftists (which some rightists might incorrectly think is a good thing) it can also be used to take away the rights of some rightists (which some leftists might incorrectly think is a good thing). It is better to let everyone keep their rights equally. It may be worth saying, in case some are not clear about this, that it is the Bill of Rights that has kept petty tyrants, who arise in every generation like weeds in a garden, at bay in this country. When honored, the Bill of Rights protects all citizens from the political whims, fashions, and jerking knees of the moment.

And the knees of freedomphobes are now jerking. For this reason, there is an increasing urgency to protect the Bill of Rights. We're already seeing many of those who want to repress American citizens using the anti-terrorist aura of the Act to label others as terrorists in order to push their hatred and their agendas. The Act helps these petty tyrants act out their hatred and gives the color of law to their repression. An Arizona newspaper recently carried a column by a writer with a clear bias for an open border with Mexico. The writer was quick to label as terrorists those who want to protect our borders. In California, several people including a woman who collects clothes for poor white kids were called domestic terrorists. And, these are just two examples of the type of mischief that will be done unless the Bill of Rights is protected. If good, decent citizens from all parts of the political spectrum don't start speaking out, "terrorist," may soon be as commonly and as incorrectly used today as was "witch" in the Salem of the 1600's. And with similar results. Once, it was easy to destroy anyone by calling them a witch. The word terrorist may take on that task today, if we're not careful.

Without the Bill of Rights, petty tyrants in government may use the might of the U.S. government to Wacoforce their particular social, religious, and political views on others by using the pretext that these others are terrorists. Remember Ruby Ridge and how the government killed Mrs. Weaver and her son? Remember Waco and the immolation of men, women, and children? Those are the types of things that can happen even more frequently if the Bill of Rights is allowed to be weakened.
Protect the Bill of Rights and the Bill of Rights will protect you.

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