The End of the Republic?

by Paul Perry Sun, Feb 13, 2011, 01:01 AM
“I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, of everything dear to the American character.” – Lt. Col. William Barret Travis, the Alamo, February 24, 1836A vote to extend the omnibus Patriot Act is an act of moral cowardice. The American character is about constitutional government, our rights under law, the very underpinning, the cornerstone of who we are. While there are parts of the act I do not disagree with, such as some of the intelligence-sharing provisions, the suspending of the 4th Amendment is a travesty and is something that a free people should not tolerate. That is just for starters. 

Travis fought for a constitution that had been de facto suspended, the Mexican constitution of 1824, which was very similar to ours.

Your property is now subject to warrantless search. In fact, no notice need be given if your premises is entered, according to Pat Act One. If you are placed under suspicion as a terrorist, even if you are questioned, under Patriot Act Two, which was passed by Congress as the public was distracted by the capture of Saddam Hussein, you are not able to notify anyone including your attorney, according to this act of Congress. As a matter of fact, you may be assassinated or imprisoned or tortured overseas with this act as a basis. None of these provisions are constitutional, but will any judge in this era have the courage to overturn them?

When John Adams was president, we passed laws called the Alien and Sedition acts that in effect made it illegal to oppose or even say critical things about our government. It took the election of Thomas Jeffersonto overturn most of those provisions. Why were they enacted ? Fear of our former allies, the French.

Abraham Lincoln imprisoned both a congressmen and state judges without habeas corpus. Why? Fear of Confederates, even though many of the people whom he threw in prisons without bail were the peaceniks of their time and not Confederate sympathizers.

Fear is the handmaiden of bad legislation and illegal government acts. Some who otherwise call themselves constitutionalists have stated that the Patriot Acts are about our very survival, and that we have to survive in order to have constitutional government. Well, just how far are the panderers of that nonsense willing to take that logic? Perhaps some of our current political leadership might think the modern equivalent of Nazi Germany might be better able to deal with the threat of terror, but I do not think that is the case.

Perhaps some in my party might actually need to look between the covers of the Bible and not just thump the covers in order to discover the reason for courage and wisdom found within. By and large I don’t expect that type of courage from Democrats anymore, but they at least are consistent in their fear-driven worship of the state.

So-called Republicans have no excuse. “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased by chains or slavery?” said Patrick Henry. According to many in Congress, the answer is yes, for the suspension or circumvention of our constitution will ultimately lead to slavery, no matter if it is administered with velvet gloves.

A free and responsible people who have not been lulled to sleep by the siren calls of state security are our best protection against those who would do us harm. No doubt there is a place in a constitutional Republicfor intelligence services, as there is also a place for border security, which failed us through inaction and political correctness on 911.

That inaction was fed by decades of neglect and sloth on the part of our political leadership and the fear of a new protected class in American politics, illegal aliens, especially illegals with a Muslim background. The very laws that could have prevented 911 were on the books before 911. More laws and an attempted legal coup against our constitution will not substitute for a lack of courage by our leadership to enforce our existing immigration law.

A cowardly Congress rushed to pass provisions in both Patriot Act One and Two in haste without making sure there was time to read the bills. That mistake or maybe strategy is now enshrined in tradition in Washington, where bills are no longer read. Many of us rememberNancy Pelosi’s arrogant looneyness in her statement that we have “to pass the bill in order to know what is in it.”

Indeed a Republican-led Congress, with bipartisan fear on its lips and Democrat encouragement, passed thousands of pages of constitution-suspending legislation by way of similar action. Now many wish to extend their error through continuing the Alien and Sedition Acts of our time.

It is reasonable to ask, how long before these laws are used as political weapons against opposing parties or maybe even opinion writers. Is that really the intent of some who support these provisos? That is howJohn Adam’s Alien and Sedition Acts, Woodrow Wilson’s war acts and Abraham Lincoln’s powers were ultimately used.

The founding fathers would not recognize our craven representatives for the most part or the people who elect them. Do we even deserve the liberties we have left? Nationally syndicated neo-conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt once asked me if these laws have been used. My response is that in my experience all laws are eventually used; some are used to oppress. Given how these are written, how are we to know? Where is the check and balance?

Some mis-characterize a statement by President Jefferson, who stated that we have a living, breathing constitution, as an excuse for their mischief.  Jefferson was speaking of our right to change the constitution by amendment. We have a lawful way to do that, but neither the Congress through a bill nor a propagandist have the right to reinterpret the very words or circumvent our founding document.

Now is the time for people to decide whether they have the moral courage to be free. There are enough laws on the books to deal with illegal aliens (which the 911 attackers were) and terrorism without succumbing to warrantless sneak and peak searches and even more grievous suspensions of many of our constitutional rights. If we are to kill the Republic, we should at least have the courage to do it by the lawful amendment process – an effort to which I will stand in firm opposition, but at least it would be a legal attempt.

Paul D. Perry

This column was originally published in the Waxahachie Daily Light

Dallas Blog post here

If you are inspired to action, here are some ideas and a few fax numbers and a sample fax.  The techniques seems to be keep bringing it up until it passes so we must keep up the heat and the faxes and phone calls.

Action Alert: Please fax to Congressmen Now and Help Stop Extension of Patriot Act