There has been much to be disturbed about in the last 5 years. The events of September 11th still bring a tear to my eye, and the Iraq War still seems like a gigantic strategic error. As blogosphere readers, you hardly need a recitation of issues to be concerned about in today's political atmosphere.
But all of the corrupt policies of the Bush Administration or even American Deaths don't begin to terrify me the way some of our leaders talk about the consequences of the next terrorist attack. On Wolf Blitzer's Late Edition a number of months ago, Wolf had some general on talking about homeland security in the context of the newly disclosed NSA illegal spying program. Specifically, the general said that the most important thing was to protect our cities from nuclear attacks, because "as that city burned, the constitution would burn with it." He was of course implying that all of you namby-pamby Americans who are concerned about your civil liberties would have a lot more to be concerned about should another attack occur, so stop complaining and let us break the law to protect you. "You don't like what we're doing now, well just wait until you don't have any rights at all," he seemed to be saying.
This is a theme that's not constantly repeated, but rather seems to be on some longer lifecycle. It crops up a few times a year - "if there's another terrorist attack, the constitution will be torn up." WHY? So help me, this infuriates me. Why should a few civilian deaths rob me of my inalienable rights? Where do you draw the line? Will 100 civilians killed be enough to torch my constitution? 1000? 100,000? Emphatically, I say there is no line. There is no point at which I will give my consent.
In fact, there is a line, but it is one which I would cross going in the other direction. If the threat was real, I would gladly take up arms to protect my constitution. Let me make my position crystal clear: Our nation is great, but it is only great because of our constitution. The freedoms it guarantees are the only thing that has brought this nation to the pinnacle of exceptionalism it now occupies.
On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin left Constitution Hall he was asked what kind of government the newly forming nation was to have, "a monarchy or a republic?" "A Republic," he replied, "if you can keep it." I fear that we are in danger of losing our Republic, because we are not keeping it. I love life, but I will fight and die to protect that noble document that seperates us from the savages, the Constitution of these United States.