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Yesterday afternoon a bold, potentially groundbreaking amendment to a defense appropriations bill was narrowly defeated. The amendment sponsored by Representative Justin Amash sought to curtail the highly criticized NSA surveillance program. Despite its failure in the House of Representatives, Amash should be commended for standing his ground in the face of pressure from the White House, the Pentagon and his colleagues in the House. Yesterday afternoon Justin Amash was not only a congressman; he was a constitutional champion, leading an uphill battle to place individual liberty above perceived security.
Many Americans have allowed a militarized security complex to strangle their patriotism and regard for true, unadulterated liberty. We have allowed nameless, faceless government contractors, with virtually unchecked power to disregard our Constitution and the will of our founders. Freedom and intrusive government programs, in the name of security, are mutually exclusive. How can we as a people claim to love liberty while simultaneously defending a program which allows unelected bureaucrats to examine every intimate detail of our private lives?
I have heard countless individuals claim that they are okay with the NSA domestic surveillance program because they “have nothing to hide”, how do they know? In an era where the IRS is on a vendetta against conservative non-profits, where the executive branch can dictate your health care, where the department of labor can force business to relocate, and the TSA can strip search grandma, I am shocked to learn that so many citizens still blindly trust government agencies in the name of security.
We as a free society must choose to either pursue maximum liberty for all or succumb to the government dreamscape of liberty sacrificed for temporary security. History shows us that once a people willingly give in to unchecked federalized secret policing programs, the fight to regain lost liberty is brutal. Despite the failure of the amendment, I applaud Congressman Amash for his willingness to take action in the defense of liberty. We are approaching a crossroads where the American people must choose, maximum liberty, or temporary security; I choose liberty.