The right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon … has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right. – James Madison
It’s hard to imagine a time in the American experience where the people and indeed the majority of our elected representatives were less aware of the inner workings of our government’s security apparatus. The recent revelations of virtually unchecked domestic surveillance, non-specific collection and storage of its citizens’ metadata and other oppressive tactics have raised eyebrows and piqued the concern of the American public, and rightly so! These matters should be openly discussed, their implications understood and their use closely monitored.
An enlightened people can protect against the rise of tyranny and oppression. Conversely, an uninformed, uneducated public makes them vulnerable to the series of oppressions which constrain, as history shows, to slavery. The fate of our Republic unquestionably hangs in the balance.
No other rights will matter if we continue to consent to the suspension of this right out of fear.
2 thoughts on “Guardian of Every Other Right”
If we look back at the last years of each president who has held office, the “safety” of the public has been used as an excuse to enact those tactics. Each year, we lose liberty after liberty. Are we going to watch as the python of oppression slowly suffocates its prey or call halt to the decisions that are being made on our behalf?
I feel that Abraham Lincoln’s concerns that …”Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” is eroding more with each generation and election. We ,the American public, can not develop a government that treats us as little children or worse ignorant pawns. If this republic is to regain its momentum as a leader of freedom we will have to take the responsibility that is required. If during WW two we had wanted to act as if our way of life was not to be changed, regardless of the reality, we would not have had the women take over the men’s jobs and the outcome of that war perhaps would have been very different. We are just as threatened today. The abdicating of our responsibility to be a government BY the people is, I believe, at a crisis level. We have seen the enemy and it is us.