Franklin and Shakespeare and the Erosion of Liberty

2011 May 27

by Roy W. Bakos

Beware the end of May?  The soothsayer from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar can now replace “the Ides of March” with the end of May.  Why, you ask?  The continual deluge that has been plaguing the Midwest and Northeast?  Earthquakes?  Revolutions in the Middle East?  No, none of those is the answer.  The reason why we should beware the end of May is that the Patriot Act was given four more years of life by bi-partisan majorities in both houses of Congress and President Obama just minutes before it’s scheduled midnight expiration.  Instead of rejoicing over the demise of the greatest encroachment on American Civil Liberties since the Alien and Sedition Acts and COINTELPRO, I am left saddened by yet another broken promise by the leaders of the so-called “free” world.  Tonight, we are one more step away from our Republic and one step closer to a police state.

We have now been at war for over a decade (twenty years if you believe that our “new” conflict started almost immediately after the end of the Cold War in 1991 with the first invasion of Iraq) and we have spent nearly all of our national fortune to catch a few hundred bad guys with no end to the “war on terror” in sight.  We have spent nearly three times the amount of time and many times more money to stop an unstoppable tactic than we did in our effort to end WWII and defeat the Nazi and Japanese Empires.  Think about that for a minute or two.  We have bankrupted our nation (to anyone that says this is false do the math…a 14 trillion dollar deficit is exactly the same amount we have spent in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on Homeland Security plus the amount of lost revenue from the Bush tax cuts.  Add it up and the total is the same…not Medicare, or Medicaid, or Social Security or any of the Union benefits being cut add up to this figure.  The deficit is a simple mathematical result of our overreaching Empire and the moneyed elite’s desire to eat at the public trough for just a bit longer…but I digress) and have brought home tens of thousands of dead and wounded with no tangible result except for a single corpse being thrown out of a helicopter and the destruction of our Civil Liberties.

Beware the end of May for it brings sad news for the Republic.  Let’s see what excuse is used in four years when this encroachment on freedom is up for another renewal.  Who will be our bogeyman in May 2015?  Perhaps we can hope for more Rand Pauls or Mark Udalls or Dick Durbins in the future but as of right now it looks like they are just as ineffective as the Roman Senators were at the time of Caesar’s assassination.  It also looks like we as a people just don’t care; we have traded Liberty for security and right now, we deserve neither.

One Response leave one →
  1. May 27, 2011

    What angers me most (I know it shouldn’t be what angers me most about the renewal of the PATRIOT Act, but it is) about this renewal is the fact that President Obama has ordered it be signed by the autopen. I understand that the autopen is used and I’m fine with it signing Christmas cards, invitations, and other low level things. This is, however, legislation, and I think that to be true to our system, legislation should be signed by an ACTUAL signature from the President.

    I’m not a slippery slope (sidebar: does anyone else remember being taught in debate class that the slippery slope argument is not a strong one and shouldn’t be used to advance a position? Why then, are we always talking about slopes and their slipperiness?), tin foil hat wearing guy and I don’t believe that the guy in charge of the autopen is going to quietly take over the country by “signing” things in the name of the President. To me, the way things are done matter and legislation requires the signature of the President, not his robot.

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