Thursday, March 22, 2007

Government and our Freedom

Tuesday night I had dinner at my Grandma's house. Besides my parents being there, my cousin Andy was there too. Before dinner, we started talking politics, which always makes me happy. We covered a multitude of topics...from the recent Gonzalez and DOJ scandel, to the Iraq war, to sending more troops...then I brought up the question "How much freedom are you willing to give up to be protected by our government?" He wasn't quite sure.

My junior year of college, I took a public policy class at Fresno State. I didn't learn a whole lot about public policy per how it is developed. In the class, we discussed current events and the latest public policy. During that time, the Patriot Act was the hot topic. We discussed this Act extensively, and the question I asked my cousin was a question that was posed to us.

The Patriot Act broadened the authority of American law enforcement in terms of fighting terrorism. What most people do not know, is that it covers so much more than just fighting terrorism.

I believe that the government continues to infringe upon the rights of its citizens. Directly after 9/11, it seemed that every citizen would do whatever was necessary for the government to "protect" us. If you polled Americans now, I don't believe that would be the case. There have been too many instances where the government has used the Act illegally to obtain information on US citizens. Part of the Act allows the government to bug your house, phones, etc., if there is any suspicion that you may be a terrorist or helping a terrorist...they can do this without a search warrant, on their own accord...for national safety. We all know how far the government took such acts directly following 9/11. In fact, some parts of the original Act were considered unconstitutional because they infringed upon our civil liberties. Other laws and Acts have been amended due to the Patriot Act, including laws on immigration and previous Acts such as the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) and the USA Act, which became a part of the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act was renewed in 2006. It was passed in the Senate on March 2, in the House on March 7, and President Bush signed the renewal on March 9th.

The day after I had this discussion with my cousin, I received an email from Christianity Today titled Life, Liberty, and Terrorism. The timing on recieving it was interesting.

How much freedom are you willing to give up so the government can protect you?

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