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Hark! The (Auto)pen is mightier than the Sword of Liberty! (or has apathy done the slicing and dicing?)

May 27, 2011


I remember that day.  It all happened while I sat in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, on my way to work.

Then came the calls and the emails.  The shutting down of the airlines.  Friends and colleagues stuck across the country at a trade show, everyone just really wanting to get home.  To figure it out.  To find out the fate of friends working in The City.  Fear.

Started out writing this:

I can’t remember when I started (or when I actually gave it up), but sometime around then, I created my own rudimentary publishing system, and posted a blog at Geocities.  (Don’t look, it is gone now 😉 ).

And then found a link on Doc’s old weblog, and found this:

[Edit] Link removed for personal reasons — it was the Way Back Machine, and it was there 🙂

So — it looks like that was 9/16/2001.

The immediate and imminent fears of September 11th had passed.  A different kind of fear surfaced.  And as I quote a memory of nearly a decade a go, of the voice inside my head, it said something like:

Holy <expletive> <expletive> Dave!  This is what they were waiting for.

It was game on for all of the politicians and lawmakers just looking for justification to attack liberty.  We were at war oversees, and if that wasn’t enough, we were at war with our citizens at home.  

It is really beyond the scope of this post to get into the details.  It is easy to understand the impulse that made us, as a people, pretty much look the other way when this law was written.  We had been attacked.  The freedoms that citizens of the United States, and visitors to its shores, enjoyed, could now be blamed for the atrocities committed on September 11th, 2001.  The leap (lapse) of thought was easy to make.  We were still afraid.  As the most powerful nation on the planet, fear was not something we expected to feel.

It occurs to me that there is a fair metaphor, though, and I will use it here:

Blaming freedoms (those that, to that point, Americans still enjoyed) for the attacks on September 11th were(are) akin to blaming the victim of a rape for the crime.

And today(yesterday?  : Can’t find the actual time the President said “it’s a go, o signo-matic 3000” and the machine did its diligence), President Obama,  re-authorized provisions of this Bill, all while traveling oversees, with the famed Autopen.  (No, he wasn’t traveling WITH the autopen … that would have rendered it useless).  There will be a lot of debate about the validity of  laws signed in absentia with this device, or others like it.  The impersonal nature does seem to say something.   Wanting to distance oneself from something that is detestable, to “spit out the bitter tasting fruit”, is only natural.   Is it legal?  I imagine it will be an interesting test of law, were anyone to challenge it.

To have named the Bill PATRIOT to begin with was a slap in the face of We The People.  As if opposing it made one un-patriotic.  As if loving the freedoms it worked against was un-patriotic.  The provisions that came after the attacks did not make us safer.  They made some of us feel safer.  And for all that, we trade(d) a great deal away.

Or, maybe it is simply like leaving something you’ve had out in your yard near the end of the driveway.  Lacking the energy or whatever, it just gets left there, and since it was there yesterday, it will be there tomorrow.   And it may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow.  But eventually, one of two things are likely to happen:

  1. Someone comes and steals it.
  2. The garbage man comes and takes it.

Either way, it is lost.  Preventably lost.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2011 9:10 pm

    Sadly, we are headed right down the road to a Socialist government, and it is politics as usual in Washington DC. The dolts that fell for the Obama “Hope and Change” crap should be asking themselves how that is working out for them now.

  2. May 31, 2011 1:20 pm

    The dolts that fell for the Obama “Hope and Change” crap should be asking themselves how that is working out for them now.

    Can you elaborate?

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