Freedom/Privacy

Being an American means being an active critic of government

I am a citizen of the United States of America. In this country, I can criticize my government as intelligently, as profanely, or as stupidly as I wish. I can call the president of the nation an unintelligent, uninspiring, and incompetent leader — which I have done. I can call my representative in Congress a buffoonish party hack — which I have done — and urge his removal from office by the voters. I can attack the policies enacted by government at all levels as often as I wish.

I can assemble with others to complain about the government. I can petition the government for redress of grievances. I can practice a religion free of government interference. Most importantly, I have the right to speak my mind. I can say whatever I want about the government short of advocating violence against it. I am free to speak or write critically about the actions or inactions of my government.

I can be a critic of my government because for hundreds of years, hundreds of thousands of Americans before me fought and died for my right to do that.

In this young century, however, Americans have suffered increased assaults on their rights — especially privacy — by their own government, all in the name of the proclaimed need for “national security.” Because of fear, government continues to attempt to foreclose on constitutional protections.

Government may erode constitutional guarantees in the absence of the watchful eye of the governed. Rights not exercised may become rights lost. It is an obligation of citizenship for Americans that they continually critique and comment on the actions of their government. That is how we shape our government. Failure to do so allows government to shape us and our rights instead.

At the moment, America has a slew of problems confronting it — record unemployment, a shrinking economy, two foreign wars, a two-party system run amok, and an enormous fiscal deficit, just to name a few.

As we toss the steak on the barbecue and watch the fireworks today, let’s keep in mind the rights and riches we do have, the historical cost of attaining them, and the future risk of losing them if we fail to speak up when government displeases us.

10 replies »

  1. You are free to do all those things . . . so long as the boss class is confident that you doing those things present no threat to boss class control. You are free only to the degree that you remain powerless. If the exercise of any freedom by you should threaten the power, profit and pleasure of the boss class, then you will designated an enemy of freedom and appropriately constrained.

  2. Today is a day to remember how fortunate we are that we live in a democracy. The American Revolution would never fly today — far too radical for most Americans.

  3. Today is a day to remember how fortunate we are that we live in a democracy. The American Revolution would never fly today — far too radical for most Americans.
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  4. Great piece, Denny. As I said in a piece a couple of years ago, people need to remember Woody’s admonition: “This land is your land/This land is my land….”

  5. “I can be a critic of my government because for hundreds of years, hundreds of thousands of Americans before me fought and died for my right to do that.” AND VOTE!! Without those who do the government’s will while in uniform, there is no government–whether there are many in uniform or not. And, although voting does not guarantee much, every once in a while it does guarantee that the emperor does manage to parade around absolutely naked as a jaybird. And really that’s why America still can work. A good laugh of the right kind every once in a while decimates Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs and any other pretenders to the throne of America. Flush twice. It’s a long way to Washington.

  6. Wall Street
    Art students
    9/11 snow job
    Chicken hawks
    Moving company
    Propaganda media
    DNC stealth neocons
    Anti-semitism accusers
    The chosen the superior
    2-3% of the US population
    Extortion blackmail bribery
    By deception ye shall wage war
    AIPAC’s Israel-first dual-nationals
    For profit NotFederal NoReserve scam

    Words are plentiful deeds are precious!

  7. And where were these comments in 2001-2008? Bastard stepchildren in the cold orphanage of lock-step, jack-booted thugs who ‘knew better and were trying to keep the country united – by force, if necessary’. It’s such a pity that the wingnuts rally around the flag until it is inconvenient, unpleasant, or Constitutional (see note).

    Note: best example to date – republican leadership exhorting the masses to ignore the Constitutionally mandated census in 2000 after it was approved in whole by both sides in Congress. Love that Constitution, boys, until you hate part of it – then and only then is it a “living document”.