Security is an addictive illusion.
There is no such thing as security through force. The only real security is good will, and even that ain't perfect. If the rest of the world loved the United States -- if the United States were the caretaker it pretends to be, rather than the murderous bully that it actually is -- would anyone consider attacking us?
(By the way, as long as you buy into that belief that they want to kill us because of our religion(s) or theirs... well, do you have any idea how difficult life is in the middle of a desert or a mostly mountainous region? "They" -- the various Islamic middle eastern countries -- have their own problems to deal with ordinarily, and if the US were all benevolence and tolerance, attacking us would be the last thing on anyone's mind. Besides that, since there are different brands of Islam, they'd probably be fighting amongst themselves if the US weren't providing a unifying enemy for them to all agree about.)
Once upon a time, We the People believed in "innocent until proven guilty" and "due process of law". Courtesy of George W. Bush, who promised that America would not be changed as a result of the 9/11 attack, laws have been rammed through Congress which blatantly erode these protections, and he even further seeks to judge foreign countries without upholding these former traditions.
Do unto others... In true criminal form, he now criticizes others for being "unconstitutional" while he believes in the US Constitution about as much as he believes in Santa Claus.
Once upon a time, We the People believed that people were sovereign unto themselves. That meant that you had the right to decide what activities you decide to engage in, what you do to your own body, and how you choose to live. It meant that government was subordinate to an individual's right of choice for himself. Now, the government of the United States has grown so certain of its belief that it has to protect us from ourselves (let alone others) that its intrusive hand is involved in virtually every aspect of our lives, and few of us even realize it. Your job, your car, your education, your entertainment... you name it, the US government is there trying to control it in some way.
Once upon a time, We the People recognized that governments invariably end up in the hands of the people most likely to create a tyrrany. The checks and balances of the Constitution were designed to eliminate that possibility, and yet how few Americans realize that the 12-member jury is the final, ultimate check in that system? A 12-member jury of one's peers was designed to allow the citizens to say, "No, we don't accept the government's law," and to acquit on that basis -- that we have decided that this law is not right. This fact is terribly absent from the education of a jury member, because the judicial system is pretty well corrupted from a variety of sources, but none so much as the improper jury system itself. The jury system seeks easily swayed, emotional individuals who know nothing about the topic being discussed and especially none who know the purpose of a court of law. And, thanks to recent legislation enacted, anyone who gets called a "suspected terrorist" doesn't even merit a fair trial.
Think this won't get abused? Look at our history. I have a Social Security card from 1971. When Social Security was introduced as part of the US's "War on Poverty" (isn't it interesting how whenever we declare war on an idea, we get more of that idea instead of less?), privacy groups noted the potential for abuse -- using numbers to track people, to whittle away at an individual's privacy. Once upon a time, we had a right not to be tracked
. My card actually has on it, "FOR SOCIAL SECURITY AND TAX PURPOSES -- NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION". The government promised
that this card and its number would never be allowed to be used for identification. Now, you can't even get a job without one, you can't get credit without one, virtually anyone you interact with for business or professional purposes asks you for this information -- all for the purpose of identifying you.
Or let's look at income tax. There's a lot of debate whether or not the 16th Amendment to the US Constutition was ever really properly passed. But back when this idea of giving the US government the authority to tax individuals (which the founders forbade, recognizing back then the potential for abuse -- think about the Sherrif of Nottingham for a bit and you'll get the idea), the masses were sold on the idea because it would only be used to tax the rich. We were promised that this was to "get the fair share" out of the rich, who were undeniably enjoying the wealth of this land and "oughtta pay their fair share". But once we opened that floodgate, little by little this authority grew into a massive taxation system, and most of us who are definitely not rich are paying thousands of dollars each year to the US government, while, amusingly enough, the 20,000 page Internal Revenue Code has more exemptions for the rich to evade paying taxes than anyone knows about (and the document is mostly kept secret -- go to your local IRS office and try to get a copy of the official laws some time). We were promised that only the rich would be affected. Now, the rich (and the extremely low income or homeless) are the least affected.
The US government has a notorious history of breaking its own promises.
And while you look at this and don't much care about it -- after all, it's not all that intrusive just yet -- you ought to. History is a shining example of how governments will keep trying to get more and more power for itself at the expense of the governed. How far is too far? The powers that be realized that if you whittle away at rights one step at a time, bit by bit, only targeting a small minority to start and then expanding it, you can eventually get away with murdering that particular right entirely.
That is what's going on right now. It's been going on for all of the US's history. No, I don't think it's particularly any vast Conspiracy
on the part of any of the individuals involved in it -- I think it's a terribly unconscious thing. The problem is that whether it's a conscious effort or an unconscious one, the end result is the same -- larger and more tyrannical government, fewer and fewer rights of individuals, with the end result looking a lot like slavery (or worse, some sort of futurisic technological apocalyptic future).
Never once has the US given back a right that it has taken away, with the possible exception of the elimination of slavery. And while I am no fan of slavery, and agree that it had to be abolished, do you know why Lincoln made slavery into "the issue" to be fought over? Let me tell you this story.
Back when the South sought to break way from the North, England backed the South. As a result, England was providing supplies to the South to help fight the war, ultimately hoping to cash in its new-found relationship with a new country which derived most of its wealth from slave labor. And tabacco was still a prized trade item, all of which came from the South.
Well, popular opinion at the time in England was that slavery was evil and should not be tolerated. So, in a political move designed primarily to force England to withdraw support, Lincoln made the Civil War about slavery. While he might or might not have cared much about the slaves, claiming that the focus of the war was the slavery issue (it wasn't -- it was more about keeping the country whole, and proving to the states that the federal government was senior to them) was done for purely political reasons -- to cut off the South's supplies coming in from the British.
This was hardly the noble cause that school children are taught.
And then how many promises were made to the native American population?
Etc., etc., etc.
You can be proud of this country. There are plenty of things which are still good about it. But the complaints that Americans lodge against their country -- and there are plenty of such complaints, and the number of things to complain about only goes up with each session of Congress -- are not merely the whinings of people who hate their country. Those of us who point out the problems with this country do so because we recognize this decay of our society. We love the ideals that this country was founded upon. The problem is that these ideals, the reason this country was once so great, are being taken away by those who pretend to uphold them while they do everything in their power to destroy them.
What's worse, the government of the United States, via its military might and economic power, seeks to take away any rights that other countries have (or had). The idea of attacking a nation because it might
attack us is very similar, within international politics, to a policeman giving you a speeding ticket because you might drive over the speed limit, or throwing you in jail because you might be a terrorist.
The history of the United States is riddled with episodes of killing people, taking their land, driving them out, all for the benefit of its people and at the expense of others. There are things that I am terribly ashamed of the USA for having done. McCarthyism is one. The treatment of the Native Americans is not just one thing but several. Attacking Mexico for a narrow strip of land to build a railroad, oh, let me tell you about this one.
I don't have the precise date, but you can look it up, both to confirm it for yourself and to get the date if you want it. When the trans-continental railroad was being built, the "best" pass through the Rockies was found slightly south of the US border -- in Mexico. "We" (i.e. the US government, on behalf of the railroads), asked Mexico to sell us that chunk of land for the then amazing sum of $12,000,000. Mexico declined the offer. So the US went to war with Mexico, defeated Mexico, took the chunk of land we wanted, and then paid Mexico the $12,000,000 in "war reparations". Then, in what must have been an amusing ironic twist, another suitable pass, even better, actually, was found much futher north within territory we already owned. So we went to war and paid $12,000,000 for a chunk of land that we didn't actually need to have.
The US has always looked after the business interests of the rich, even going so far as to go to war with countries for business interests. If you think we've somehow evolved past that, you haven't studied enough history. Please, go take a look in a history book. Do it quickly, before we lose the freedoms of speech and press and this embarassing thing we call "our history" becomes unavailable to us!
We invaded Russia after World War I (1918 or 1919) to try to stop the spread of Communism, too, although you probably weren't taught that in school. (Russian history books, of course, teach this, but then we failed in that invasion.) We, including Britain and probably France (I'd have to check this one), invaded Russia because of the threat of this new idea called Communism. It didn't matter what the people of Russia wanted. We took it upon ourselves to decide that some people on the other side of the world couldn't live the way they wanted to, because it was a threat -- to our economic interests.
Communism is terrifying to the rich, because the rich lose their power in such a system. Unfortunately, Communism cannot be implemented by force, and it cannot be implemented successfully until everyone can trust everyone, and we're a ways off from that. Communism, as implemented, is really socialism, but we like to call things what they aren't, just like we like to call this republic that we live in a "democracy". The US ain't a democracy, but the US government lies about everything else, it might as well lie about what Communism and Democracy are.
(Note: USSR stood for "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics", which is a pretty accurate description of their former system -- socialist republics, but with a ruling class. It's far more honest that what "we" call ourselves. USSR was never a communist country, and China is not a communist country, and North Korea is not a communist country. Communism is an utopian ideal of brotherhood, which cannot possibly operate at the point of a gun. If you had to use a gun to enforce it, it is either a tyrrany, a despotism, or socialism. By the way, the US is pretty socialistic, too. Social Security is socialism. Income tax is socialism. The US Postal Service is socialism. Socialism can be best described as "government-directed activity for good of the people".)
We even attempted to invade Canada an annex it once many, many decades ago. (1800's) Canada successfully beat us back down and has remained independent ever since. Were you ever taught that in school?
The US is not a country with a history to be proud of. The US does, however, have ideals to be proud of, and those are under attack. It is these ideals, and what bit of them we manage to express in our lives, that makes the US a great nation. It's the only thing that ever did. Our actions, by and large, only served to prove to the rest of the world that, at 226 years old, we're still a young child by national standards.
It's time to grow up.