You’ve seen the quote from Benjamin Franklin: “‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The bifocal eyeglasses Franklin created must have been pretty powerful – powerful enough to let him see more than 200 years into the future to the day when Congress would enact the Patriot Act.
Though we all can understand that Congress, in the wake of 9-11, felt compelled to do something, I think we have all come to understand that the Patriot Act, rather than providing that safety Benjamin Franklin spoke of, has turned out to be a very real threat to essential liberty.
That’s why I took the opportunity last night in remarks to a national conference of the ACLU to call for the immediate repeal of the Patriot Act. You can read my remarks here: GaryJohnson: Repeal Patriot Act Now.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, were horrific, infuriating and tragic. Everyone understands that. But throughout history, the federal government has responded to attacks and threats by saying, “If only we had more power, we could…..”.
Ten years later, we can clearly see that the Patriot Act was a perfect example of that classic reaction, and with the exception of the folks in Congress and the Administration, we can all see with equal clarity that this law (as well as some others we could mention) is arguably as great a threat to liberty as were the terrorists who were at the controls of the airliners on 9-11.
Where is the patriotism in a law that let’s the government monitor our cell phones because we might know someone who might know someone who might be associated with a group that might be supporting terrorists?? Where is the security in a law that gives the government permission to keep track of our library visits and book store purchases, not to mention bank transactions?? And where is the common sense in a law that grants powers so onerous the government feels compelled to promise they won’t really use them??
I’ll make a prediction right now: In the general election campaign for president later this year, you will not hear either President Obama or the Republican nominee talking about the Patriot Act – or the fundamental rights it tramples. They won’t be talking about it because they WANT THE POWER it provides. And if, by chance, they do mention it, they will tell us we just don’t understand, that there are secrets we don’t know, and we should just trust them.
Right. If you share my doubts about trusting them, please go Here.
Questioning the Patriot Act – and in fact demanding its repeal – is just one of many vital debates that won’t happen in this year’s campaign for President if OUR voice isn’t heard. Someone has to be on the stage asking the question: Why does the government need more power to intrude on our basic rights? With your help, that ‘someone’ will be me – speaking and questioning on behalf of you and millions of other Americans who really, really care about freedom, liberty and making government smaller, rather than bigger.
But I won’t be on that stage without your help. In the past week alone, I have appeared on Fox, MSNBC, NY1, and numerous other national news outlets pounding the message of liberty. Today I am in Florida doing the same.
I’m delivering the message, and people are listening. The key is simply to reach more people. For that, your financial support is the essential ingredient. We have to reach beyond and around the traditional and elite media to reach real people who are ready to join us if given the opportunity. They are out there. Just last night, the room wasn’t large enough to hold the crowd who wanted to talk with me about civil liberties and individual freedom.
The next few weeks are critical. Please offer your support today by going to garyjohnson2012.com and making a contribution. It will be used carefully to make sure real freedom and real liberty are on the ballot in 2012.
Your friendship and support are very important to me. We have come a long way together – and we have an amazing journey ahead of us!
P.S. Trivia question: What candidate for president scored better than Barack Obama AND Ron Paul on the ACLU’s 2012 Liberty Watch report ?
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