Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

9/11 and the antidemocratic decade that followed

Ten years after 9/11, we have failed miserably in our attempts to bring about justice for our countrymen who died that day. Indeed, whatever success America has had in routing out terrorists over the past decade has been overshadowed by the new society in which we live.

A month after the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground on September 11, 2001, Congress passed the nefarious USA Patriot Act, which gutted the Bill of Rights. The Patriot Act gave the President unprecedented and unconstitutional powers to spy on, monitor and police American citizens. A clever title, public fear, and congressional ineptitude made the Patriot Act a shoo-in. And it was passed without debate and without our so-called representatives even having read the legislation. In this way, through so-called democratic measures, America began a terrible antidemocratic decade.

Under cover of its “war on terrorism” and in blatant violation of constitutional and international law, the Bush Administration opened the door to a host of shadowy dealings involving extraordinary renditions, unlawful imprisonment and torture. Choked with fear and grief, Americans closed their eyes to the emerging threat posed by their own government.

Suspicion, fear and ignorance are the new norms. We have made enemies of one another. We allow government agents to pat-down our children when we want to ride in an airplane. We stand by when transit authorities shut off cell phone service in order to disrupt protests. The news fails to report the thousands of SWAT team raids that take place every year, endangering and sometimes murdering people for victimless crimes. We turn the people we don’t agree with or understand—be they Muslim or Christian, Republican or Democrat—into fictitious boogeymen who want to destroy our livelihood.

Let this anniversary be a wake-up call to a sleeping nation to rouse ourselves from a spirit of complacency and take our government leaders to task. The politicians will not act unless they are pushed. Thus, it will be up to us to confront the abuses of our government. Let us dismantle our military empire. Let us take care of our poor, our downtrodden. Let us push back against the surveillance state. Let us put human dignity above corporate profits. If not now, then when?

[Excerpts of article by John W. Whitehead, founder of The Rutherford Institute]

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