Curtailing Civil Rights for the Global Good?

Curtailing Civil Rights for the Global Good?
Make no mistake about it: the United States is the envy of the global community not because of its restrictions, depression, and timidity, but because of the rights it freely metes out to its residents, the opportunities that are available to citizens and non-citizens alike, and the boldness it encourages in those who are willing to go out on a limb and risk a lot to get a lot. Yet there is a movement underfoot that in essence seeks to persuade Americans to curtail their civil rights for the global good.

In a post-9/11 world, a lot of commentary and political banter is going on all over the media. The far left is blaming the current Bush administration for everything and anything, including the attacks that this country commemorates today. The far right continues to demonize the left and refuses to listen to anything it brings up, including constructive criticism of the war on terror. Those in the middle are about ready to tear out their hair, since it appears that common sense, reasonable discussion, and grown up discourse are going by the wayside in favor of political flame throwing and verbal grenades. Then there are those in the media. While at times it is uncertain what exactly it is that they are doing – other than being cheerleaders for either the right or the left – other times we may be awed by the ill-informed and vile mutterings of drunken movie stars or – which might be even worse – sober actors.

One interesting notion that appears to have a recurrent theme is the idea that America is at fault for the tragedy it endured on September 11. Consider the words of Andy Rooney, who finished up his 60 Minutes commentary by stating:

”Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us. We seem so nice to ourselves. They do hate us though. We know that and we're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons.
We have to do it I suppose but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us.“ (1)
This statement is interesting in that it puts the responsibility for being attacked, having so many of our men and women murdered, and having so many children left without mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, or an uncle or aunt – back on us! It does not put complete blame on the villains who made the plans and carried them out, but instead concedes mitigating circumstances.

While the veracity of the statement is highly debatable, it is interesting from the point of view that it calls for a curtailing of civil rights. What is the nation if not the people individually? It is unclear how, in Mr. Rooney’s opinion, we, the people, should behave so as to not “make so many people in the world want to kills us?’ Is he advocating that we let go of our civil rights, and curtail a woman’s right to vote – after all, that must be galling to those who favor the idea of having women in subservient, preferably slavish, conditions living amongst them. Perhaps we should do away with our rights to free speech, so as not offend anyone in the global community by calling their acts of wholesale genocide and slaughter “evil?” Or maybe we should take away the freedom of religion, and no longer allow individuals to worship whom they see fit in a manner that they deem appropriate, and instead banish all sights and sounds of religion – except for those that may be embraced by America’s enemies, so as not to offend them any further?

As you can see, this list can continue ad nauseam, and it is highly unlikely that it will yield any workable solutions for a “kinder, gentler America” that will have no enemies. Instead, it will quite possibly signal the very encroachments and seizures that have caused our forefathers to rebel in the first place!

Thus, Mr. Rooney et. al., perhaps rather than curtailing the hard-won civil rights and liberties of Americans, it would be more productive to curtail the murderous appetites of those who find mass-homicide and terrorism to be an acceptable solution for whatever it is that ails them. Of course, that’s just my opinion.


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