Many Americans Still Stand Up For Liberty
by James Glaser
The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan was the first to stand up for all Americans and tell the Federal Government, Stop!, when they passed a resolution in direct response to the PATRIOT Act. Ann Arbor was the first, of over a hundred thirty resolutions by local governments all over this country that have rejected federal policies that threaten our basic Constitutional Rights.
Just one week after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Attorney general John Ashcroft submitted a 342 page bill which was called the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 or the USA PATRIOT Act.
George Bush and John Ashcroft told Congress if they didn't pass this bill any further loss of life from terrorists would be on their hands and Congress bought that line all the way. Only one Senator and sixty six House members voted against the bill even though no member of Congress was allowed to read it contents before voting.
Now America is asking the question, which came first, the PATRIOT Act or the Terrorist Attack?
In a new American Civil Liberties Union report, some of the more controversial sections of the act are explained to the American people and those in Congress, if they would like to read about it now. For example, under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, " the FBI was also granted access to highly personal "business records"- including financial, medical, mental health, library, and student records-- with no meaningful judicial oversight. In other words, federal officials actually can obtain a court order for records of the books you borrow from libraries or buy from a bookstores, without showing probable cause of criminal activity or intent- and the librarian or bookseller cannot even tell you that the government is investigating what you read."
Right after this Act was passed many people had concerns and those in Congress that voted for it, spread the word that only aliens would have concerns, but American citizens were still protected like always. Lucky for us the ACLU and other rights organizations were watching the federal government on our behalf and it was the fear of an assault by the White House on our liberties that has swelled the membership of the ACLU by over a hundred thousand new members since September.11th 2001.
The White House and George Bush were not satisfied with all the new powers this PATRIOT Act gave them and President Bush started writing Executive orders that took more of our liberties from us. It is now possible for the President of the United States to order you or I to prison for as long as he wants by labeling us "enemy combatants." That doesn't mean that we have to take up arms against our country. Under the Presidents order we could sit in a military prison , with no right to a lawyer, no right to a hearing or trial, and no right to contact those that love you.
Since the passage of this ACT average Americans are starting to learn just how far this President and his administration are willing to go to take our rights from us. That why large cities and like Minneapolis and small towns like Crestone, Co. (pop.73) have said enough, we are not going to help Washington destroy American Liberty.
States like Alaska, Vermont, Hawaii and cities like Seattle and Detroit have joined in "passing ordinances and resolutions expressing their opposition to the PATRIOT Act, and their fundamental disagreement with intrusive, post-9/11 federal policies."
It scares me when I have to be afraid of our federal government and the President, but it is comforting to know that millions of Americans feel the same. Now John Ashcroft is about to present PATRIOT ACT II the "Sequel." This will take away more of our liberties and freedom. The only way we can stop this sickness is with the help of Congress and the Ballot Box next year.
To read the whole ACLU report go to, www.aclu.org and click on PATRIOT Act. It is a sad read, but it does show you that many Americans have caught on to what George Bush and his administration are trying to do to our country.
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