Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Erosion of our Civil Liberties

Alright so yesterday I said that I was getting up to date on current events. Well I'm going to backslide a little. Not to say that "The Erosion of Our Civil Liberties" is not a current event. It's just that this was a hot topic few years back when we were being ruled by the Bush/Cheney combo. At the time it was always something I wanted to write about. But now I'm a famous blogger with tens of people reading my rants. So I guess there is no time like the present. I know I'm going backwards and the hope was that I would be going forward. Don't worry I still plan to reach my goal of transporting myself at least five days in the future when I'm done with this challenge.

One of the most powerful choruses heard during the Bush Years was "they are destroying our civil liberties". I have to be honest, that statement always irked me. It's not that I believe that George or Richard were protectors of any liberties that we may have or had. I just always wondered this, when was the time period that we had all of these liberties that you are pissed to be losing? Or more importantly who are you talking about when you say "we"?

Now first off let me make a few things clear, laws like the USA Patriot Act and programs like the NSA wiretapping program certainly work to destroy some of the basic "so called" freedoms that we may posses in this country. And I understand that someone can examine some of the laws written in the US Constitution and infer that people should maintain certain rights that would be respected by the US Government. But here's what I'm saying. Has there ever been a time where enough people were treated in a manner that suggests that there was something close to universal recognition of certain inalienable rights?

When you say things like "they are eroding our civil rights?", you are implying that "we" had rights previously. This brings us back to my earlier question, who are you talking about when you say "we"? Are you only talking about American Citizens? Or are you talking about illegal immigrants or foreign citizens that have been directly impacted by US imperialism? Because you would be hard pressed to find many Guatemalan Peasants, that lived through the US sponsored genocide that killed 200,000 people, that would claim to have felt any civil liberties during this time. When you say "we" do you mean white Americans? Because you certainly can't be referring to Black Americans that lived through Jim Crow or Slavery. You can't be talking about Emmit Till. And you can't be talking about Japanese Americans that were interned in concentration camps during WWII. You can't be talking about Native Americans that were forced to walk the trail of tears, or inhale small pox infested blankets, or live in forced poverty on US reservations. Are you talking about white men? Because you certainly couldn't be talking about the women that were seen as property of their husbands and didn't have the right to vote for the first 100+ years of this nation's history and still can't get equal pay for equal work. Are you talking about straight Americans? Because you can't be gay and serve in the military. ...Not that the military is a good thing.

I know I just went off. Ultimately what I'm trying to say is that your government has never universally granted the "so called" rights of the constitution to everyone. So don't say "our" when talking about the erosion of civil liberties. For two reasons. One maybe you never had the liberties that you think you had. Or two maybe you're one of the only ones that did...


  1. I get frustrated being on the wrong end of lenghty and pointed jabs at the white men. I am a white man, I didn't ask for it, and I can't change it either.
    I wasn't rich when I grew up, although I do better now.
    I had no breaks I could see, or feel. I got where I am because I worked hard. I didn't stop anyone else, gay, of color, or women, or anyone else from getting what they wanted. I support many organizations that support women, children, gays, and poor people of all colors. I do so with the money I have earned, not by taking it from anyone, but by my own sweat and efforts.

    There is nothing wrong with earngin money, or even being rich. What is bad is twofold here. It's bad to be cheap, stingy, and ungiving to others that need your help. It's also truly bad to think that you got it coming rather than the opportunity awaits even you.

    I am tired of reading about how evil I am for being the white man, for having money. I'd much rather see more people go out and get their's too.

    My father used to tell me, "Don't wait for your ship to come in, row out and meet it."

    It's not your color, it's not your sexual orientation, it's what you want or don't that gives you your life.

    I am not racist. I don't hold anyone back. I don't like being lumped in with all those bad people you see as your oppressors. It feels almost like racism at me.

    Peace and Love. Charlie A

  2. "Ultimately what I'm trying to say is that your government has never universally granted the "so called" rights of the constitution to everyone."

    Since it is prefaced with "ultimately", I have to say that this is what ghetto hippie's particular post is all about.

    I read it as saying that historically rights that people would like to think of as inalienable, have been systematically denied by our government. His “rant” exemplifies that often the criteria about whom it has been denied from are racist, sexist, classist, etc.

    Would you really disagree with this Charlie? Because the only criticism in this post is of people who deny this.

    This post is NOT about the evils of earning money, begrudging you anything that has come to you through hard work, or a pointed jab at white men for being white or male. It’s a criticism of people ignoring the fact that the government doesn't always serve and protect those that it should. The point is made that it is easier to ignore this if you aren’t a person of color or a lesbian etc. However, if you are not a person who doesn’t acknowledge this fact, this post is not about you. This post IS about people who only get upset when THEIR lives are being affected but are mum about other’s rights being violated (the example GH is using in this post is the vocal middle class during the Bush era whom were not vocal before or after). This is not something that only white men do but it is something that is easier to do if you have privilege. And white men have the privilege (the “break” that you do have…whether you asked for it and whether you can change it or not) of not often being in the group that is being denied civil liberties and having a government of their peers more then any other demographic. But this post is a criticism of a gay man who doesn’t acknowledge that homelessness is criminalized, a white woman who denies racism, a citizen that ignores the detainees in Guantanamo, any person who acts like we even come close to living up to the standards of “our” constitution or ignores that the constitution was written by slave owners. It almost feels like you didn’t read this in its entirety or skimmed it. Where in this post is GH attacking people for being white and male? Where does he say that all white men never ever have to work and get all the breaks? I am tired of people making valid critiques and analysis of there surroundings and the response being “don’t hate me because I am a white man!” I would even say that a white man responding this way, ironically, is racist.

    Why support "many organizations that support women, children, gays, and poor people of all colors" if there is no need? Is there a need and who creates this need for the support? It sounds like you believe there is a need to be in solidarity with these demographics. So what’s up with the defensiveness?


  3. just a thought from an anonymous white guy... ever think that its the rich that are the true enemies of all you rightly label in here as oppressed and not "the white man". There have been plenty and still are plenty of poor white ppl in the US with just as many disadvantages as any other oppressed group. Likewise I would be willing to bet that there are people of color who are in gov and plotting against the working class along side the "white devil. Perhaps those you list, who i agree are truly oppressed, are just being purposly misled to keep the rich and powerfull rich and powerfull. Its alwfully conveinent to keep us working class fools ignorant and blamming each other i.e race illegal immigrant u name it. Racism I beleive is an invention of the rich and powerfull. Beleive me I have experienced some very extreme racism from non-whites towards me. It is normal human reaction after being mistreated becouse of your skin color to lash out in such way. Indeed racism is by its nature a two way street.