Stripping Away American Freedom:
A Call to Action
More than one person in the United States of America, conservative and liberal,
has accurately pointed out that our freedoms are being quickly stripped away in
this time of terrorism. The FBI is investigating people on the basis of race and sex;
freedom of the press is being challenged; suspects are being held without bail
indefinitely unless they "voluntarily" cooperate; attorney-client rights are being
ignored; political activists are automatically being searched at airports and even
told they can't fly; your phone may be tapped without a warrant; and restrictions on
the FBI's interference with churches may be disappearing.

Terrorism has created terror, and terrified, irrational people will give up anything to
feel protected. This is true even if it means losing the very freedoms the terrorists
are threatening. How many fundamental American rights and values will we violate
in order to preserve fundamental American rights and values?

Expressing our views on these problems with each other can be healthy, letting out
our frustrations and finding others who support our viewpoints. But how much does
this accomplish outside of your group of friends and your own head? What can
you do?

If you really want to do something, express how you feel to someone in power. If
you don't know how to contact your representatives, you can go to First Gov at
www.firstgov.gov. Look to the left and you'll see Contact Your
Government. The House of Representatives and Senate are under By Agency
(or you can go directly to the Representatives listing at
www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html and the Senate listing at
http://
www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm) Or check your phone book
or newspaper for government listings.

Write a letter/phone/e-mail. Thank those who are supporting what you believe in;
tell those you disagree with that you disagree. If you don't know their record, tell
them what you believe. Some estimates say a single letter is considered equal to
500 to 1,000 people because so few people write.

If you believe corporations largely run the country and buy the politicians, contact
businesses that have acted on these issues (for example, businesses that sponsor
a television program that allows free discussions, or by contrast ones who have
pulled sponsorship from such a program). And you can financially support a
non-profit organization that you believe is working to preserve American Freedom
in this time of paranoia.

I used to wonder how people could have done nothing when innocent
Japanese-Americans were ripped from their homes and businesses during World
War II, or when innocent people had their careers destroyed during the Communist
"Witch Hunts" of the 1950s. Now I think I know the answer: many people like us
complained to each other and did little else while the masses, while perhaps
well-intentioned, were blinded by fear and ignorance. Don't wait for your
grandchildren to ask you why you watched fundamental American freedoms being
stripped away and did nothing.
Copyright © 2001 to 2009 by The Loveshade Family.
This was first posted online on December 1, 2001, not long after the September 11, 2001
terrorist attacks on the United States of America. And it was even closer to the October 26,
2001 signing of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act.  I am honored that portions of this piece,
especially the last sentence, have been quoted by others.

At one time, a few of us in and out of
The Loveshade Family were sharing a nom de plume.  
That pen name was "Reverend Loveshade," which was originally listed as the name of the
author of this piece.  While I certainly respect the person currently using that name (who has
used it more than anyone else since it was first used in 1994 or 1995 and who did give me
helpful comments on this essay), I hope that people do not confuse us.  Work of the current
and now apparently only Reverend Loveshade is at
discordia.loveshade.org.

The below is as it was originally posted, except that a link has been updated.
AldenHome

Whatever
Copyright Notice
By Alden Loveshade
December 1, 2001
As of early 2009, over
a million people are
restricted from flying
in the U.S.A. (a boy
named Jack
Anderson has been
repeatedly restricted
since he was age 2);
Guantánamo Bay
Detention Camp
(often called
Guantanamo Bay
Prison or Gitmo),
which has held
suspects without
being charged,
without bail and
without access to an
attorney, is scheduled
to be closed; freedom
of the press in the
U.S.A. is still ranked
by the United Nations
as significantly lower
than it was before the
attack; thousands of
people's emails have
apparently been
searched without
warrants; and George
W. Bush ended his
second term as U. S.
president and was
replaced by Barack
Obama.

For updates on these
and related issues,
including ideas for what
you can do, check The
Loveshade Family Blog
at
www.loveshade.org/blog
and the ACLU at
www.aclu.org
There have been a
great number of
shared pen names
throughout the ages.  
Some of those used in
the 20th to 21st
centuries include
Alfred Hitchcock (The
Three Investigators),
Carolyn Keene (Nancy
Drew books), Mark
Twain (Samuel
Langhorn Clemens
was apparently not the
first to use the name),
and Ellery Queen
(Ellery Queen stories).
This piece is sometimes mistakenly listed as the source for the quote, "Terrified people do not
want to be free, they want to be protected. If you can keep the people in a state of terror, you
won't have to take away their freedom — they'll give it to you willingly."  I actually wrote this in a
piece which is now lost, and then used it again in the blog entry "Red Alert--Terrorist Threat
from Your Own Government?" which was posted on August 10, 2006 at
www.loveshade.
org/blog/2006/08/red_alertterrorist_threat_from.html

If anyone has a copy of Reverend Loveshade's companion piece, "How To  Raise A Terrorist,"
please let me know.
The webpage where this originally
appeared is at
www.geocities.com/bloodstar84/stripfreedo
m.html

The "real" Reverend Loveshade has a
version at

discordia.loveshade.
org/xtra/freedomstrip.
html