Saturday, February 13, 2010

It happened in Wisconsin: Yikes! Thank God for the First Amendment

Homeland Security admits improperly assessing threat of Wisconsin abortion activists -

It took some digging to find the MSM report by the L.A. Times. This story has been circulating on blogs for the most part - thank God for freedom of the press and freedom of speech. (I am interested that searches for this story turn up more "conservative" and "pro-life" bloggers - are "liberals" and "pro-choice" types not outraged that they also were on the bad end of government action?)

The Department of Homeland Security "threat assessed" groups on both sides of the abortion debate during demonstrations in Madison, WI. The agency has since admitted that this was not an appropriate "use of its resources."

"Emergencies" allow government to expand, but very often into areas of life having nothing to do with the "emergency." And this expansion often crowds into areas of life in which the government does not belong.

For those of you who had lazy teachers huffing about the irrelevance of "dead white males," or who watch enough Law and Order: SVU to think that a pro-life demonstrator is the same as a suicide bomber, here's what we stand to lose when the government "threat assesses" public expressions of political opinion:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

For those of you on the left of the political spectrum, situations like the one in Wisconsin are why conservatives get negative when a "crisis" is declared - be it the auto industry, health care, a war on poverty - because the government seldom restrains its "mandate."

And for those on the right of the spectrum, this is why civil liberties advocates were sounding warnings about The Patriot Act and "special" counter-terror powers.

Americans are at once polarized around their causes and ignorant of their own form of government. That's a toxic cocktail, and those who gulp it believe that they can "win" by ignoring the Constitution without winding up among the losers when it ceases to have any authority.

h/t Transfigurations for pointing me to this story.

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