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Liberty vs. Security

Dear editor,

As the courts finally begin to examine the Bush administration's secret program of warrantless mass wiretapping of Americans, I was disgusted to read this quote from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas):

"I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead."

Politicians will use any excuse to violate our Bill of Rights freedoms: protecting children, stopping illegal immigration, fighting the misbegotten War on Drugs, fighting terror... seemingly anything will do. There is always some "urgent" reason why the Bill of Rights must be curtailed. Always for our own good, of course. 

Benjamin Franklin had the perfect answer to this nonsense over two centuries ago, and it's never been truer than today:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

And, he might have added, they will get neither Liberty nor Safety.

The spyers, liars, torturers and war criminals who rule us today and who exhibit such contempt for our fundamental liberties should be impeached or voted out of office. Replace them with citizens who actually care about the American freedoms that are now in such grave danger.


James W. Harris

(Unpublished, June 2006)

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