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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 61 - 10/8/2001
Are You Willing To Give Up Some Civil Liberties To Be Safe?
Increased domestic security is on everyone's minds these days and the U.S. government has already begun implementing more restrictive security screenings than most Americans can ever remember seeing before. As the news continues to report on the likelihood of more terrorist attacks including chemical and/or biological agents, how safe do YOU feel? Would you be willing to undergo searches of your person and/or belongings at airports? How about personal searches at sporting events or when entering a mall? Are you willing to allow the government to read your email, listen in on your telephone conversations, track your web surfing habits, inquire into your membership affiliations or restrict your ability to meet in groups (say at a large Pagan festival or open circle) in order to feel more safe? Is there a point where you would draw the line at surrendering your civil rights? (Did you notice that the media when referring to the idea usually use the word 'liberties' instead of 'rights'?) Are you a little more nervous about being known as a Pagan these days?
| Reponses: There are 69 responses posted to this question.
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| I Think This Is A Pretty Easy Question. All I Have To... ||Oct 7th. at 12:24:58 pm EDT|
|John Hutton (Spokane, Washington US) ||Age: 20 |
I think this is a pretty easy question. All I have to do is ask my Dad or look at my family history and I have my answer. Both of my Grandfathers faught in WWII in the pacific campaign. One at Guadalcanal and the other at Iwo Jima. My Dad went to Vietnam. They all faught and lost many friends in the name of security for our way of life. The last thing I want is to desecrate the memories of all the people that died for our country so we could be as free a nation as we are now. I also work for the Airline industry in Seattle so I do know the need for heightened security but that's as far as I'm willing to go. I am not a devient, I'm not a revolutionary, and I'm not a criminal. I demand that my government under the rights of the constitution to treat me accordingly. Otherwise we dishonor our ancestors who loved this country enough to die in it's defense.
| Have You Read The Writings Of Thomas Paine? Or Benjamin Franklin, Flying... ||Oct 7th. at 10:33:22 am EDT|
|Trickster (Austin, Texas US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
"Have you read the writings of Thomas Paine?
Or Benjamin Franklin, flying kites in the rain?
Those who trade their freedom for security
will wind up neither safe or free.
Penned like a dog, shot like a stray
because there's hell to pay in the USA"
- from Hell to Pay by Loke E. Coyote
hear the whole song at http://mp3.com/wiccabilly
I am not willing to trade any personal freedom for safety because it can't be done. I refuse to allow this country to become a police state. I will fight any effort to remove our freedom or dismantle the Constitution.
Here's what I am willing to trade for safety:
- I'd gladly trade the American foreign policy of military intervention and meddling in the affairs of other nations. It is this policy which causes so many of the Earth's citizens to hate us.
- I'd gladly trade the idea of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" which causes the US to train, finance, arm and otherwise support and create Frankenstein monsters like Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega. The policy under which the CIA helped form the Taliban and start the Islamic Jihad against the Soviets.
- I'd gladly trade this government's checkbook which has been used to fund nations which supposedly harbor terrorists. It waws only 5 months ago we gave the Taliban $43 million to proclaim growing poppies is against the will of Allah. Over the past year, we have given over $125 million to the Taliban. Just think how many plane tickets and plastic knives they could buy with that money.
- I'd gladly trade the American arms industry which gets fat and rich by supplying weapons to despots who will later use them against us.
- I'd gladly trade the insane drug war which chips away at the Constitution and waters down the Bill of Rights. The futile drug war which causes our "leaders" to blindly throw money at repressive governments. Because you know what? I believe it's better for people to get high than to crash planes into buildings.
- I'd gladly trade the jingoist media who try to convince us that everyone in the USA is united in bloodlust and revenge. The media which tells us who we are supposed to hate.
- I'd gladly trade any politician who says civilian casualties are acceptable in order to take out terrorism. They can't see that WE are the terrorists, and the WTC bombing is a victim's response to our policies which cause death and suffering among innocent people.
But trade my freedom? Hell no! Enough of it has already been stolen by the terrorists in Washington. Pick an item on the Bill of Rights and look at how it has been subverted by our government. They don't need help or excuses to take away our freedom, they have been doing it for years. And they have caused the global climate of conflict because it maintains their power and wealth, always at the expense of innocents.
| I Don't Feel Threatened Or Violated When/if The Government And Security... ||Oct 7th. at 3:03:02 am EDT|
|Emma (Gold Coast, Australia, Queensland AU) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I don't feel threatened or violated when/if the government and security people ask to search my bags at airports, or personal searches at events. I know I have nothing to hide that would upset authorities, and I know that it is only in our best interests that we allow these searches to happen - I mean, they're only trying to find people that could potentially harm those around them, its not going to do us any harm. I have not heard of any instances (or been involoved) where authorities have restricted meetings of groups of people. The government can read my email for all I care, I'm sure they arent going to arrest me for asking my friends what theyre doing on the weekend. When authorities are potentially listening into conversations of mine on the phone, they give a warning and an option to refuse to let them listen. Any other phone conversations I have aren't really 'incriminating' stuff, so who cares? I have absolutely no hesitation to announce my beliefs in public, people are usually interested to hear my side of things, as I am with their beliefs. Those that object to it do so quietly and it doesnt bother me. Lighten up, security checks are just about trying to keep the country safe.
| I Don't Mind Searches At The Airport, I've Travelled Out Of The... ||Oct 7th. at 12:14:36 am EDT|
|Sageeyes (Jacksonville, Arkansas US) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I don't mind searches at the airport, I've travelled out of the country before and this is fairly common every where else. If everyone is searched, it doesn't feel personal.
But, I'm totally against increased surveilance based upon suspicion of terrorist affiliation. What constitutes suspicion? Someone saying you seem suspicious? Not going along with or speaking out against current political agendas? Maybe just someone not liking the way you stand out in a crowd.
Historically, when an authoritarian power was given permission to persecute based upon suspicion, thousands if not millions of people have ended up dead or have just disappeared.
| With Respect To Having Belongings Searched Etc. At The Airports. I Think... ||Oct 6th. at 4:40:36 pm EDT|
|Spectre (Los Angeles, California US) ||Age: 45 - Email |
With respect to having belongings searched etc. at the airports. I think that is necessary. However, tapping phones, reading email, tracking web usage, and restricting group attendance. That is facism. Our civil rights are being trampled. These things generally begin with good intentions and then are exploited by government and law enforcement. Look at the thousands of illegal wiretaps the LAPD has done under the specific amendment the Federal government allowed to curb drug trafficking (if you're not aware of that you should look into it). And although such exploitation is against the law, those who do it are never called to account for their actions, or it is swept under the rug. Recall the atrocities done in the past under the name of "law" and "protection of the community" and "the moral right". Some things are obviously necessary yes, but draw the line sharply when they start asking for a "key" to your private life. I will add that I firmly believe that a solid educated representatives for the witch/pagan community must be placed in a grass roots organization to represent the diverse beliefs we hold. We should have conservitavely dressed well spoken individuals holding their own with reps from the catholic, protestant, jewish and other mainstream religions. They should be on radio, tv, and paricipating in all situations these other reps would be involved in. They will get opposition at first yes, but remember it was not too long ago that the black community, the gay/lesbian community, and others were in the same position. Society at large must see us giving to the poor, aiding the sick, and contributing in all times of need in numbers. Witch/Pagan pride. Witch/Pagans are beautiful people. Launch a campaign that will be felt everywhere. We have to get rid of the image that we are confused freaks that dress weird and worship satan. We should have Witch/Pagan community centers, meeting centers, aid centers, etc. Where's your "Feel good about yourself - Hug a Wiccan today." bumper stickers? As a recognized American religion we have rights. Stand up for them or they will find a way to take them away from us. Every right that we have now had to be fought for. Numbers and special interest groups is what kept the gay/lesbian community from being beaten to death by police and community in obscurity. Few dare oppress a person of black descent now. Take that cue and move forward in strength and in number in a positive direction. Stand up for our rights! - Blessed be to you all.
| I Got 2 Words On If I'll Give Up My Rights Hell... ||Oct 6th. at 3:51:08 pm EDT|
|james bryan (hiram, Georgia US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
i got 2 words on if i'll give up my rights HELL NO!!!!!!!the media uses "liberties" to try to get people to for get that they are rights that we fought hard to win. we can never forget that or our names shall join "the ten thousand"
| I Am Very Nervous Around My Community To Be Known As Pagan... ||Oct 6th. at 10:13:41 am EDT|
|Kimberlina (Rochester, New York US) ||Age: 26 |
I am very nervous around my community to be known as Pagan after the September 11 tragedy. Although lip service is given to "tolerance" in the community and on the television, people still ridicule and even beat up those who are different. Many people feed off emotion, rather than reason.
| Since I Was A Kid, I Assumed That The Goverment Could And... ||Oct 6th. at 9:18:32 am EDT|
|Irebera (none, California US) ||Age: 47 |
Since I was a kid, I assumed that the goverment could and did tap into private lives.
When I started using the internet, I assumed that everything I said or did on the web could be tapped into by the goverment.
There may be laws protecting a person's right to a private life.
But the goverment will across the line, if they feel there is a reason.
Weither we like it or not, all the laws we make are used only when it suits a propose.
As for myself, it would be nice if we really did have a private life that was truely our own. In reality, everything we say and do is on file somewhere in a goverment department.
Hopefully gathering dust and never to be used.
| I Believe That Increased Security At Airports Is Needed, But I Don't... ||Oct 5th. at 9:03:05 pm EDT|
|Mythrannia (Erie, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
I believe that increased security at airports is needed, but I don't believe that we should give up any of our freedoms to be safe. Our ancesters sacrifices have allowed us to enjoy our freedom, can we do any less to preserve our freedom.
| I Have No Problem With Searches At Airports And Such Places. I... ||Oct 5th. at 5:04:26 pm EDT|
|David (Forest Grove, Oregon US) ||Age: 52 |
I have no problem with searches at airports and such places. I do have problems with ID checks (a terrorist can get false ID almost as easily as a normal person can get valid ID). I am scared to death at the formation of an Office of Homeland Safety, or whatever the President wants to call it. It brings to mind images of internal passports required for travel, restrictions on travel more than a certain distance from home, police checking emails, tapping telephones, knocks on the door in the middle of the night - all in the name of National Security. Maybe I am paranoid, but that does not mean that someone isn't out to get me *smile*. Besides, Government has a habit of expanding itself as much as it can, and where power is given, it will eventually be abused.
| Civl Liberties In Order To Be Safe? How Safe Are We Anyways... ||Oct 5th. at 11:10:13 am EDT|
|Drakon (Ruckersville, Virginia US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
civl liberties in order to be safe? how safe are we anyways. simply walking outside your hose can get you killed. and what about carbon monoxide poisening? we are a frail people humans are easily killed and death of any kind is a reason to morn. We have created an illusion of being safe and it was only a matter of time before that illusion was shattered. The only thing left to do is to get up dust ourselves off and keep going. if we give up of freedom just to get back an illusion what kind of a trade is that? horrible things happen they always will. we have it pretty good compaired to some other couintries who are less free than we are. freedom isn't free we pay for it by opening ourselves up to some horrible things but closing down woln't change anything people would find a way to get past the safety checks.
| It All Depends On What Liberties You're Talking About. I Don't Mind... ||Oct 5th. at 10:49:04 am EDT|
|Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) ||Age: 41 - Email |
It all depends on WHAT liberties you're talking about. I don't mind being grilled at airports- flying is a risky thing even on good days. But I would mind it at the mall, the arena, or the park.
I see it like this: any surrender of civil rights/liberties beyond common sense security is a victory for the terrorists. Our country is unique because of these internal and eternal acknowledgements of human freedoms. But at gateways like borders, airports, and docks, yes, put the squeeze on people. Most terrorism is opportunistic, done after close observation of laxes in security and studies of habits. We should never become complacent.
But if the tightening of security begins to silence voices that should be heard, or increases the pressure of 'political correctness' (like not protesting public Christian prayer and the assumption of a 'christian nation'), then that is wrong. If my right to write, think, associate, speak, or have a dissenting opinion gets restricted, then we are no longer Americans, but just a ghost of what we once were. And the terrorists will win- both the foriegn and the domestic ones.
I am not nervous about being known as a Pagan. In fact, I see my Paganism as the Voice and Mind of Reason, since I don't have a stake in these religious bromides that are being lobbed back and forth. I am not one of the Book People, so I am not spiritually or culturally entangled in the unholy messes the Christians, Muslims, and to a lesser extent, the Jews have created. As a Pagan, I see an opportunity to be a neutral voice of reason- a conduit of Ancient Wisdom- a third party not involved in the biblical hair splitting and dogmatic fundamentalism that ravages both sides. I am not beholden to any mad desert gods- or their mouthpieces- Christian or otherwise. Perhaps we Pagans, instead of hiding in our broom closets, can emerge and take our places as true spiritual stewards of both the planet and our way of life as Americans, since America permitted us to flourish.
As American Pagans, we can begin to usher in a new time of peace and prosperity, unfettered by religious dogma and political correctness. We can become students of all faiths, proctors of peace, and mentors of mature civilization. This is our big chance, people- think about this- this is our opportunity to be the Light Anchors that we were called to be, and show the world that freedom is a force of creation and good.
I dare you to act. Listen to your Guidance- they're daring you, too. In this month of reflection, attention and power, we need to make ourselves heard. Get out of that closet and be a real citizen.
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