From good, to bad, to worse
By Lady Liberty
I got the idea for a Website that served to report on stories about gains and losses of freedom in America not long after 9/11. I was devastated by the terror attacks like most Americans were. At the same time, I recognized that the effects of those attacks were likely to go well beyond the lives lost that awful day. I was afraid that our own fears would be used against us in ways we hadn't yet thought too much about, and I felt it was important to tell as many people as I could if I saw government taking advantage.
The idea grew. Before the pages were even finished, I'd decided to go beyond talking about only those things that were a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. After all, freedoms threatened and liberties lost are gone regardless of the reasoning behind their demise. Although terrorism proved a convenient excuse for many attempts to grab or consolidate various powers, politicians didn't need 9/11 before it happened, and they weren't very likely to confine themselves to terrorism after it happened.
During the first couple of years, I kept some statistics. I counted the total number of news stories I linked every month within the categories into which they were sorted. I tracked how many I considered to be good news or bad news. Sometimes, those statistics were in and of themselves bad news. Certainly I thought that to be the case when I found that story after story about things that made us less free outnumbered (or outweighed) the stories about things that affirmed liberty!
Much to my surprise, after I tallied everything up from the first year, I found that good news actually comprised about two thirds of the total stories I'd highlighted.The second year statistics told a similar story. Overall, I considered that to be a good news story all its own. We were still losing battles every which way I looked, but we were winning some, too, and it was clear to me that over time those wins just might add up to making a significant change for the better for all of us.
I don't mean to minimize just how bad some of the bad news was. During those years, some true government horror stories emerged. We had the USA PATRIOT Act, and the MATRIX system. REAL ID was proposed and passed. RFID chips got smaller and more efficient, and various government entities perked up entirely too much at the thought. Airport security measures included a nightmare known as CAPP and machines that conducted what the ACLU calls "virtual strip searches." But success stories, both large and small, helped to mitigate those larger issues a little and continued to provide some small spark of light in the darkness.
Eventually, I took a short break. As various upheavals occurred in my personal life, that break became a long one. Although I stayed politically active on a personal basis, Lady Liberty was on indefinite hiatus. And then Barack Obama was elected.
After some real soul searching as well as a good deal of time management planning, I decided it was time for me to get back online and resume doing what I could to show Americans conclusively that rights are lost, curbed, changed, or ignored by the powers that be on a daily basis. Since most of the bad news tends to be the direct result of political machinations of one kind or another, I came back with not only with a plan to point to the relevant stories but to promote and facilitate political activism by individuals every chance I got.
I did make a few changes before I dived back into the fray. I redesigned my Web site. I added content including plenty of resources for activists, and I decided to try my hand (or my voice, I should say) at podcasting. I also got rid of a few things, including the statistics.
I've always coded the news stories with symbols indicating whether they represented good news or bad news where freedom is concerned, and I chose to keep that feature despite the fact I haven't actually been keeping a count of them. Still, even without the numbers to back it up, I've been unable to avoid noticing something that's becoming more and more obvious as time goes on: There are a lot of stories I'm noting as being bad. In fact, there are days when quite literally every story I post has the symbol for bad news sitting next to its link. Pardon me for being simplistic, but I'm guessing that's not good.
So far, I've been able to draw two conclusions from all of this: First of all, I intend to start keeping statistics once again. I don't know how important that will or won't turn out to be in the end, but it's something I feel the need to know with a little more definition. And second, the election of Barack Obama has done more to hurt freedom in this country than 9/11 did.
When conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said on the air that he hoped Obama fails, he was criticized from virtually every corner. Some suggested that if the president fails, the country itself fails. While that might have been true where some presidents are concerned, where this president is concerned the opposite is the case. If Barack Obama succeeds in his plans, the country itself will not. In fact, I don't believe the country will survive a successful (by the president's measure) Obama presidency.
Our economy can't handle a government takeover of the health care industry, nor will it weather a massive energy tax scheme. Our citizens can't handle the skyrocketing taxes necessary to support those things. Our freedom won't survive mandated health insurance, required Census answers, or the widespread censorship already underway to quell dissent. And as the president continues to gut the military, to delay crucial decisions, and to question those who know far more than he does about the issues at hand; as the president continues to ignore border security as the crucial foundation issue that it is; and as the president remains determined to buddy up to our enemies while he alienates our allies, the integrity of everything that we are stands at risk.
These are stories I'm seeing, the stories that are all too often pointing in directions I am truly afraid to go. If forewarned is forearmed, then I'll do what I can to reinforce the warnings others have already issued.
Next time you lament the loss of life and property—and in many ways, the loss of innocence—represented by 9/11, remember everything else we lost as a result. In much the same way, the next time you're told you must respect the President and hope for his success just because he happens to be President, consider the damage he and his policies have already done. There may not be any horrifying video footage of collapsing buildings playing over and over again on television today, but the long term effects are just as much the stuff of nightmares.
Lady Liberty, a senior writer for ESR, is a graphic designer and pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House, at http://www.ladylibrty.com. E-mail Lady Liberty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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