On May 2 of this year, this column contained a story about the First Amendment and a citizen's right of free speech. At the time, many Americans criticizing President Bush about the invasion of Iraq were themselves denounced for speaking out against the war. Remember the Dixie Chicks?
It is my fervent hope that we won't have to cover the entire Bill Of Rights during Mr. Bush's remaining time in office, but I'm not so sure.
Recent developments in this country have me very concerned about the direction in which America is headed. Certainly no one has to be reminded of the tragic events that took place in this country on Sept. 11, 2001, but the repercussions from that tragedy are having a far greater impact on our society today then we could ever have imagined.
Sept. 11 could very well go down in history as the catalyst that eroded the constitutional rights of the American people from the Bill Of Rights. Before you start laughing that these are the ramblings of a paranoid individual, let me assure you they were also laughing in Nazi Germany in the 1930s; that is, until the Fuhrer made his move. In all that black and white footage I've seen over the years on the liberation of Germany, I can't recall seeing one person laughing. It's called apathy, a condition that when left unchecked can take the smile right off your face. Sadly it's a condition that is prevalent in America today.
The fourth amendment which guarantees, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated," is coming precariously close to being altered to suit the needs of the federal government.
The Homeland Security Act, passed last November, employing 170,000 agents, was the beginning. Now it's the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System. And that's how it's done, in small increments over a period of time, and you'll never know what happened until a New World Order of jack-booted Orwellian thugs kick in your front door at 3 a. m. in search of papers. Laughable? I think not. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. It's way past time we Americans band together and draw a line in the sand, for it's "High Noon" for the Bill Of Rights, and this time Gary Cooper won't be around to pull us out of it.
Chic DiFrancia is a writer and history buff living in Virginia City.