Our Government Is Messed Up- And It’s The People’s Fault

These days in America, nobody likes the government. Nothing gets passed, there’s always childish bickering, everything seems rigged, etc. Much of this results from the extreme gridlock we have today between Democrats and Republicans– with few exceptions, neither side basically wants to compromise practically anything.

An article from The Atlantic blamed all this gridlock on the Constitution itself, noting how our system of checks and balances is so strong that one branch of the government can prevent the other from governing. Included is the fact American politicians so strongly believe in this system that it compels them to take strong stances.

Although true, much of the blame should not lie on the Constitution. Its system of check and balances is essential and has proven to work smoothly before. Neither should all of the blame be heaped on the politicians themselves who have refused to compromise.

There is one factor that the article didn’t emphasize. The people. Yes, it’s the people’s fault.

The Civil War. One of the most divisive periods of American history.

What was said is probably counter intuitive to the usual political culture where politicians keep on praising how wonderful the people are and how bad the government is. But the truth is, a divided government reflects a divided people, not the other way around. Think back to before the Civil War. One side wanted slavery; the other didn’t. All those compromises between politicians, such as the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, didn’t work at all. Why? Because no matter how many “across-the-aisle” bills politicians pass, if the people themselves don’t compromise, conflict is inevitable.

The situation today goes along the same lines, where the present political climate has never been this polarized since the Civil War. The Republicans (especially the Tea Party) and Democrats have not budged a bit, even getting the government into shutdowns over issues such as healthcare and more recently, a possible shutdown just over Planned Parenthood. None of these issues are significant enough to warrant such disasters.

Yet why is this so? Because the people themselves are polarized. Why do the Tea Party Republicans keep on getting re-elected despite never compromising? Because the people they represent like that– in fact, those people think they aren’t hard enough on Obama. And to be fair, those politicians are dong their job– representing the people accurately. This isn’t just the GOP but also the Democrats, too.

Bernie Sanders at Liberty Univ. Image from NBC.

Of course, it is inevitable that the people in America have diverse points of views. Yet there are always a few issues, probably even more important than the ones that divide citizens, that both liberals and conservatives can agree on. Both sides are tired with establishment politics. Both sides are tired of money influencing elections. Both sides hopefully want to get rid of institutional racism. And so on. Our political culture now emphasizes on issues that polarize us. That has got to change.

One of the 2016 candidates, Bernie Sanders, realizes this. He, a self-proclaimed socialist, recently went to and spoke at Liberty University, one of the most conservative places in America. And his reason for this was simple– “It is easy to go out to talk to people who agree with you… But it is harder, but not less important, to communicate with those who do not agree with us.” That’s precisely it. Sure, the politicians can claim that they’ve reached out to other politicians from different parties. But what matters more is if one reaches out to the people of the other party and strike a deal with them. To focus on what unites the people, so things that need to get done can be done.

And when the people are united, so will the government. Hopefully, that day comes soon.

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Lifetime Appointments for Supreme Court Justices

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has gone through landmark court cases, from protection of the Affordable Care Act to the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

roberts Why we need lifetime terms for Supreme Court justices

Chief Justice John Roberts. Credit: RedState

For conservatives, this has proven to be a step backward, and in an effort to fight the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, they have argued that, as Justice John Roberts puts it, “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.” Simply put, each of these judges simply have too much power over too much of a long time; just one vote could swing the entire direction of America. Getting rid of lifetime terms would help put a check on this seemingly infinite amount of power.

Liberals, surprisingly, also have an interest in putting term limits for Supreme Court justices. Many note how a majority of the SCOTUS justices are significantly much older than the general population, and due to this, are out of sync with American citizens. In other words, the rulings and opinions of much older people are being unfairly imposed on the lives of young Americans (who are predominantly liberal), which is simply undemocratic.

Both points are valid, and there has been renewed calls to set term limits on Supreme Court justices. But both points are simply wrong.

 Why we need lifetime terms for Supreme Court justices

The Supreme Court. Credit: Wikipedia

First off, the judicial branch was never meant to be democratic, and for good reason. The Founding Fathers were afraid that the opinions of justices would be too susceptible to popular opinion had there been no lifetime terms. At first glance, nothing sounds wrong– why, isn’t it all the more representative if this were to happen?  What’s the harm?

The problem is popular opinion is not always right. If the majority of a population were racist whites, then surely the Supreme Court would fail its duty to simply follow the popular opinion of its time. Similarly, landmark court cases such as Mapp V. Ohio and Georgia V. Randolphhave protected and advanced the rights of criminals, which would likely have been ignored by a majority of the population, who generally do not support criminals. “The dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right. The Nation’s courts are open to injured individuals who come to them to vindicate their own direct, personal stake in our basic charter. An individual can invoke a right to constitutional protection when he or she is harmed, even if the broader public disagrees and even if the legislature refuses to act,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy.

In essence, lifetime terms for justices is a check on the majority itself to prevent abuses on the minority. Both the executive and legislative branches, which constantly have to be re-elected or elected, have to follow the majority to stay on the job; only the judicial branch is free of this.

Supreme Court US 2010 Why we need lifetime terms for Supreme Court justices

The current Supreme Court justices. Back row (left to right): Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito, and Elena Kagan. Front row (left to right): Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Credit: Wikipedia

While many claim that life terms give the Supreme Court too much power, it actually prevents the other two branches from achieving that goal. SCOTUS justices are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate, and as seen in history, they are often chosen according to the president’s tastes. Conservative presidents, like George W. Bush, tended to appoint conservative judges, such as Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, while Barack Obama, a liberal, appointed Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, both who tend to vote pro-Obama on many issues. The fact that the Senate plays a part only factors in its political influence into the court. Furthermore, the retirement of justices can turn political as well, as seen with many urging Justice Ruth Ginsburg to retire now so Obama could appoint another liberal justice to the court, lest it be too late if a Republican becomes president next term.

sotomayor090526 Why we need lifetime terms for Supreme Court justices

Obama’s appointment of Sonia

Sotomayer in 2009. Credit: The Daily Signal

The solution to this, however, is not to set term limits, as some suggest. True, by giving lifetime appointments, a justice does indeed have the chance to retire at the “right” time. But at the same time, the only times politics influences the court would be at the appointment and the retirement– everything else in between the justices are free from politics and free from political retribution (as seen with conservative Justice Roberts voting pro-Obama a surprising number of times). Setting term limits, which would give rise to higher occurrences of appointments and retirements, would only increase the politics played into the court. It could very possibly give rise to a constant race between Democrats and Republicans on who could appoint the most of their type into the Supreme Court.  Lifetime appointments, on the other hand, would significantly decrease this, as the Founding Fathers wanted.

To sum it all up, Alexander Hamilton noted in The Federalist Papers that “nothing can contribute so much to its firmness and independence as permanency in office.” That includes independence from politics as well as from popular opinion. And in order for justice to be blind, it must stay this way. The Founding Fathers got it right this time around.

The Obsolete American Currency

The original penny goes back to the birth of a new nation.  In 1793, the new-founded US Mint released the cent, or currently known as the penny.  The American people enjoyed the diverse uses of a penny, given it was worth many times more than what it is today.  It starts as pure copper; nothing else is added to the minting but pure copper.  In 1856, the penny was being leavened by 12% nickle.  In 1943, the penny was actually zinc coated steel, not copper at all.  It went back to 5% zinc in 1944 during World War 2, and remained that way for a solid 4 decades.  Up until now, the penny is only 2.5% actual copper, most of it being the thin outside coating.  The rest is a cheap zinc core.  According to the US Mint, each year America throws away 4 Billion dollars on penny production.  Furthermore, it takes $0.004 to make a penny.  If you do the proportions and rationalizing correctly, it comes out as 4 Billion dollars in exchange for 1 Billion dollars in tiny coins.  The total weight for all those pennies is about 2755 tons.  In the previous year, 6 billion dollars was put into production for pennies.  As a miserly consumer and economist, this is the biggest waste of money history has ever seen, and nobody bats an eye.  I believe, for the benefit of the common citizen, that the production of pennies should be terminated as soon as possible.  Without further notice, I will begin my reasons:

1.   To throw away 6 Billion dollars for pocket change is unnecessary.  Six billion dollars can be used to provide many things including global debt payment, healthcare, community projects, philanthropy, or simply giving back to the people.  If there are 200 million Americans today, we can give 30 dollars to each and every one of them using that money.  There are many things to do with that amount laying around deep in down in the US Treasury.  With tensions in Syria, America could seriously invest in aid to the freedom liberators.

2. There really isn’t confusion, if it’s 91 or 92 cents, then simply round down.  If it’s 93 or 94, round up.  No harm could possibly be done in that.  No inflation, no collapse of American Ideals, nothing scrutinizing or financially degrading.  There is absolutely nothing bad that will happen.  There will be no inflation, normally Americans don’t even want their change.  It ends back in the dilapidated cashier register never to be touched by the hands of man ever again.

3. Let’s talk practically here, nobody really counts out their coins to the perfect cent anymore.  I did you readers the courtesy of asking 20 people at a local gas and convenience store if they pay to the perfect cent.   Only 3 people actually do; the rest don’t, which makes only 15% of the average person.  A bet at 15% is almost guaranteed to lose.  For the people that actually do, you’re wasting your time and the time of others behind you.  Fuck off with your little “try- to-be-mother-teresa” persona and save yourself a little time.  Plus, do you want to carry around single cents at which have no commercial value?  Honestly ask yourself that and see the results.  Be perfectly straight with yourself, just don’t bother pennies.

4. Other countries like Finland and New Zealand don’t use pennies, and they’re doing perfectly fine.  Why not emulate them and stop production for the single cent coin?  It has already happened, why won’t America realize this?  Other countries that use their lowest currency articles have use for it because it probably is a 3rd world country, or maybe you can actually buy things with it.  We are children of a lifestyle obsession, poverty and tiny coins don’t concern us.

I’m practically done here, but there’s plenty of futile rebuttals you inconsiderate jerks will make up.  Humans have a tendency (or rather a fetish) to simply disagree just for the sake of disagreeing out of some completely arbitrary reason.  Most times you’re gonna lose that debate and really feel stupid.  I’ve done you another favor by naming some common misconceptions.

“If pennies have been around from since the birth of the nation, banning it would be degrading to our national image.”

I don’t even know where to begin.  Let’s start by saying that there’s an older coin than the penny called the half-cent.  The half cent was actually able to buy things back then, and had the exact economical value as the US Dollar today.  When America decided to take that away, nothing happened at all.  It actually makes us look much more wealthier than squabbling around in our pocket change.  In addition, no other country cares about our lowest currency.  It’ll just be a small sub-article in the bottom of a foreign newspaper and completely disregarded.  Don’t bother with the whole “Patriot-what-if” bs, it’s not going to happen.

“Yeah but pennies have been around for generations, if you took them away then it’ll upset people.”

As stated before, nobody cares about pennies.  It’s so useless we don’t even realize it.  Why waste 6 billion dollars from federal tax reserves so you can satisfy your cashier register instincts? There are much more important issues at hand, and you ignorant bigots want to worry about tiny metal scraps?

“Taking Lincoln off the coin is unpatriotic.”

The most patriotic group of young men and women in America are known as the US Armed Forces.  They are willing to give up their lives for their country and they don’t even use pennies. Ask any marine or veteran, they didn’t use it.  Also, it’s kinda degrading to find the arguably best American leader on the lowest currency.  If you’re still worried about Lincoln’s image, he’s still on the five dollar bill.  If you’re still worried, well nobody gave a crap when they took JFK off the 50 cent.  The thing is, people just simply don’t care.

“But but but….”

Leave further arguments down below; trust me nothing will go wrong.  I’m not asking people to make pennies strictly illegal, I just want to stop production.  Hell, if possible, why not start a penny collection? Who knows what they’ll be worth 10 years from now?  Feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Navy Yard Shooting at D.C.

I just recently started my journalism class, and so this is one of the first few articles I wrote:

A mass shooting left 13 people dead- including the suspect- Monday at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard base.

The identity of the shooter was Aaron Alexis, a former Navy member and a current defense contractor.

Site of Shooting

In what was called by chief Cathy Lanier “one of the worst things we’ve seen,” Alexis entered the Navy Yard base with a shotgun, gained access to two handguns, and began to start shooting at people. Navy Yard employee Terrie Durham recalled that “he aimed his gun at us and then he fired at least two or three shots.”

After the arrival of the SWAT team and the police, Alexis was killed by Officer Scott Williams in one of what Chief Lanier described as “multiple engagements” between police shooting teams and Alexis.

Once the shooting was over and the investigation began, details began to emerge. Apparently, Alexis had been recently living in local Washington hotels. He purchased his gun from a gun store in Virginia, and the purchase appeared to have complied with state law.

He was then allowed to enter the base because “of his work as a contractor,” said FBI assistant director Valerie Parlave, and then began his rampage. What disconcerted some, however, was how the base missed Alexis bringing in a shotgun, though he might have concealed it.

The motives behind the shooting remained unclear. His most recent contact with authorities before the shooting was one month ago when he reported to police that an individual who he got into a verbal fight with was sending three “people to follow him” and “keep him awake” by sending vibrations through his body using “some sort of microwave machine.”

Although clear now that he had psychological problems, Alexis at the time stated that he did “not have a history of mental illness in his family and that he has never had any sort of mental episode.”

Besides psychological problems, he also ran into a few troubles with the Navy he was formerly in, having had eight misconducts on duty. “He wasn’t a stellar sailor,” said Rear Adm. Kirby, and because of the misconducts, he was honorably discharged in January 2011.

Aaron Alexis

Personal accounts revealed there were financial problems for Alexis, too; Kristi Suthamtewakul, a friend of Alexis, told CNN that “he wasn’t getting paid on time, he wasn’t getting paid what he was supposed to be getting paid,” referring to his job. Another friend, Michael Ritrovato, also said that Alexis was arguing with his employer often over the pay.

Alexis even thought of “mov[ing] out of America” because he thought “as a veteran, he wasn’t being treated right or fairly,” said Suthamtewakul.

Yet, despite all of Alexis’s problems, friends still saw him as in heart being a “very good-natured guy,” as said by Ritrovato, and described him committing the mass shooting at Navy Yard as “incredible.”

Melinda Down, an acquaintance of Alexis, also expressed disbelief and surprise, saying, “It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Who was this guy?”

Putin’s Amazing Opinion Piece

Here is a recent opinion article from Russian President Putin urging the USA to not use military intervention on Syria. I found it pretty convincing (of course he is hypocritical on some parts), and my favorite part is his quote deriding US exceptional-ism. I mean seriously, the US has to stop showing off and be humble. Anyway, here’s the article.

MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.

Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.

From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.

It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”

But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.

No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.

The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.

We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.

I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.

If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptional-ism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Martin’s Last Speech

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK speaking at his last speech

Just recently, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It was a speech that changed the nation, a speech that shook the conscience of the United States. In fact, scholars have ranked this speech the no. one speech of all time, and I can’t help but agree.

I remember the first time I read the speech, I was awed. Each single letter held tremendous power, each single phrase moved my heart. Perhaps the beauty came from the fact that this was a man who stood up and sacrificed himself for what was right. And then for many nights after that, I would try to make a speech that could match his power. No matter how desperately I wrote, thought, or performed, I just couldn’t reach that speech’s kind of level.

So I thought, if I can’t reach that level, perhaps someone else did. So I searched, went on Youtube, and finally I found one. And guess who it was by? Martin Luther King himself. Again. This was Martin’s last speech, the speech he gave before he was assassinated. And after reading/ watching the speech, one might realize that it seemed as if Martin knew he was going to die soon. But that was what it made so moving- the fact that he was going to die, but telling us that we will reach there. In fact, I would say that this speech was my favorite, even over “I Have A Dream.”

So here is the not-as-famous speech “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.” I would highly recommend you go watch videos of the speech, in fact just even clips of it, and it will just move you and make you cry.

Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy in his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It’s always good to have your closest friend and associate say something good about you. And Ralph is the best friend that I have in the world.

I’m delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow. Something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world.

As you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” — I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there. I would move on by Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.

But I wouldn’t stop there. I would go on, even to the great heyday of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and esthetic life of man. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would even go by the way that the man for whom I’m named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg.

But I wouldn’t stop there. I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. And come with an eloquent cry that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

But I wouldn’t stop there. Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy.” Now that’s a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a away that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee — the cry is always the same — “We want to be free.”

And another reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence.

That is where we are today. And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn’t done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed. Now, I’m just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding. And I’m happy that He’s allowed me to be in Memphis.

I can remember, I can remember when Negroes were just going around as Ralph has said, so often, scratching where they didn’t itch, and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God’s world.

And that’s all this whole thing is about. We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God’s children. And that we don’t have to live like we are forced to live.

Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.

Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we’ve got to keep attention on that. That’s always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn’t get around to that.

Now we’re going to march again, and we’ve got to march again, in order to put the issue where it is supposed to be. And force everybody to see that there are thirteen hundred of God’s children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out. That’s the issue. And we’ve got to say to the nation: we know it’s coming out. For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.

We aren’t going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces; they don’t know what to do, I’ve seen them so often. I remember in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were in that majestic struggle there we would move out of the 16th Street Baptist Church day after day; by the hundreds we would move out. And Bull Connor would tell them to send the dogs forth and they did come; but we just went before the dogs singing, “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me round.” Bull Connor next would say, “Turn the fire hoses on.” And as I said to you the other night, Bull Connor didn’t know history. He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn’t relate to the transphysics that we knew about. And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. And we went before the fire hoses; we had known water. If we were Baptist or some other denomination, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist, and some others, we had been sprinkled, but we knew water.

That couldn’t stop us. And we just went on before the dogs and we would look at them; and we’d go on before the water hoses and we would look at it, and we’d just go on singing “Over my head I see freedom in the air.” And then we would be thrown in the paddy wagons, and sometimes we were stacked in there like sardines in a can. And they would throw us in, and old Bull would say, “Take them off,” and they did; and we would just go in the paddy wagon singing, “We Shall Overcome.” And every now and then we’d get in the jail, and we’d see the jailers looking through the windows being moved by our prayers, and being moved by our words and our songs. And there was a power there which Bull Connor couldn’t adjust to; and so we ended up transforming Bull into a steer, and we won our struggle in Birmingham.

Now we’ve got to go on to Memphis just like that. I call upon you to be with us Monday. Now about injunctions: We have an injunction and we’re going into court tomorrow morning to fight this illegal, unconstitutional injunction. All we say to America is, “Be true to what you said on paper.” If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.

We need all of you. And you know what’s beautiful tome, is to see all of these ministers of the Gospel. It’s a marvelous picture. Who is it that is supposed to articulate the longings and aspirations of the people more than the preacher? Somehow the preacher must be an Amos, and say, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Somehow, the preacher must say with Jesus, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to deal with the problems of the poor.”

And I want to commend the preachers, under the leadership of these noble men: James Lawson, one who has been in this struggle for many years; he’s been to jail for struggling; but he’s still going on, fighting for the rights of his people. Rev. Ralph Jackson, Billy Kiles; I could just go right on down the list, but time will not permit. But I want to thank them all. And I want you to thank them, because so often, preachers aren’t concerned about anything but themselves. And I’m always happy to see a relevant ministry.

It’s all right to talk about “long white robes over yonder,” in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It’s all right to talk about “streets flowing with milk and honey,” but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day. It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.

Now the other thing we’ll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now, we are poor people, individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively, that means all of us together, collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That’s power right there, if we know how to pool it.

We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles, we don’t need any Molotov cocktails, we just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, “God sent us by here, to say to you that you’re not treating his children right. And we’ve come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God’s children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.”

And so, as a result of this, we are asking you tonight, to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy—what is the other bread?—Wonder Bread. And what is the other bread company, Jesse? Tell them not to buy Hart’s bread. As Jesse Jackson has said, up to now, only the garbage men have been feeling pain; now we must kind of redistribute the pain. We are choosing these companies because they haven’t been fair in their hiring policies; and we are choosing them because they can begin the process of saying, they are going to support the needs and the rights of these men who are on strike. And then they can move on downtown and tell Mayor Loeb to do what is right.

But not only that, we’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank—we want a “bank-in” movement in Memphis. So go by the savings and loan association. I’m not asking you something we don’t do ourselves at SCLC. Judge Hooks and others will tell you that we have an account here in the savings and loan association from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. We’re just telling you to follow what we’re doing. Put your money there. You have six or seven black insurance companies in Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an “insurance-in.”

Now these are some practical things we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base. And at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts. I ask you to follow through here.

Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point, in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.

Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. One day a man came to Jesus; and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters in life. At points, he wanted to trick Jesus, and show him that he knew a little more than Jesus knew, and through this, throw him off base. Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. But Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn’t stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But with him, administering first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother. Now you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn’t stop. At times we say they were busy going to church meetings—an ecclesiastical gathering—and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn’t be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that “One who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony.” And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather to organize a “Jericho Road Improvement Association.” That’s a possibility. Maybe they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effort.

But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that these men were afraid. You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, “I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles, or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about 2200 feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.” And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before you tonight. Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?” The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, “Are you Martin Luther King?”

And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that’s punctured, you drown in your own blood—that’s the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I’ve forgotten what those telegrams said. I’d received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I’ve forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I’ll never forget it. It said simply, “Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School.” She said, “While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.”

And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn’t sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I’m so happy that I didn’t sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn’t matter now. It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Fox News- Seriously?

Before I go on to post about Hyperdimensions Part 2, I thought for today we should have some comedy. Perhaps one very comedic organization is no- not Comedy Central, but Fox News. It’s comedy because of its stupidity. Two videos showing how messed up Fox News is-

I mean seriously? Fox News is like the epitome of stubbornness and dumbness. For instance, in the 1st video, obviously that lady was taking Obama’s quotes out of context. Yet, she still fights and doesn’t admit it. So pig-headed, yet so hilarious.

What’s even more hilarious, however, is when other comedians take use of this hilarious stupidity. Comedians like Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and his substitute John Oliver. Just watch and laugh.

I think that’s enough laughs for today (haha why is Fox so retarded). Obviously, Jon Stewart and John Oliver have made clear how Fox is so conservative and comedic. By the way, you should definitely one day watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Best comedy show ever.

Zimmerman Found Innocent

Reblogged from Yahoo! News:

SANFORD, Fla–George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman whose trial for the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin riveted viewers and sparked a national conversation about race and justice, was found not guilty on all charges Saturday.

Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted on charges of second-degree murder in the death of Martin, a 17 year old whom the defendant shot during a scuffle in a nearby gated community on Feb 26, 2012. The six-woman jury also found Zimmerman not guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The jury signaled they had reached a verdict 9:45 pm ET and filed into the courtroom around 10 pm. After the verdict was read, Judge Debra Nelson polled the jurors to make sure each agreed with the decision. She then told Zimmerman he was free to go.

Zimmerman showed little emotion as the verdict was announced.

The decision from the jury had been expected to spark outrage from Martin family supporters who say the teen’s death was ignored by police and prosecutors for weeks because of his race. Martin was black, and Zimmerman is half white and half Hispanic. But more than an hour after court was adjourned, only a handful of demonstrators were outside the courthouse and they were heavily outnumbered by members of the media trying to interview them.

Estefania Galvez, a protester with the national “Justice for Trayvon” group, said protesters will hold a press conference on Sunday at the courthouse to announce a national day of protest on Monday. There were reports of some demonstrations in other cities sparking late Saturday night. Dozens of people marched in San Francisco holding signs in support of Martin, and another spontaneous rally was reported in Washington D.C.

Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read. They later tweeted thanks to their supporters.

“Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control,” Fulton tweeted. “Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will love you forever Trayvon!!! In the name of Jesus!!!”

Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, tweeted, “Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY,” he wrote.

The jurors deliberated 12 hours on Saturday–including a one-hour lunch during which they were allowed to discuss the case–before alerting the court that they would like the attorneys to clarify the charge of manslaughter. The attorneys on both sides told the jury that they could not speak about the charge “in general terms” but would be happy to answer a more specific question.

The jury never sent back a more specific inquiry. They only made one other request during their deliberations–for an itemized list of all the evidence presented during the trial on Friday. They reached their verdict after 16 hours of deliberating over two days. The jurors, whose identities are protected by a court order, declined an opportunity to talk to the media after the verdict.

In a televised three-week trial, jurors heard the defense and prosecution each paint very different pictures of the night in question. Zimmerman was an angry “wannabe cop” who was seething with anger at a rash of break-ins in his neighborhood when he pursued and shot Martin, the state has argued. The defense, meanwhile, maintained Zimmerman was within his rights to follow and question Martin, and that it was the teen who became violent, prompting Zimmerman to shoot as a way to save his own life.

The case ignited a national debate over self-defense laws and race, prompting marches and demonstrations around the country. Local leaders have urged members of the community to remain peaceful no matter what verdict the jury hands down.

The prosecution failed to convince the jury that Zimmerman had “a depraved mind without regard for human life” when he shot Martin, which was required for second-degree murder. A lesser manslaughter conviction could have been handed down if the jury believed Zimmerman had no lawful reason to kill Martin, even if he bore Martin no ill will. The law says if Zimmerman had a “reasonable” belief that his own life was in jeopardy or that he could suffer bodily harm from Martin, he was justified in killing him.

At a press conference following the verdict, prosecutors expressed disappointment with the outcome but urged the community to remain calm.

“We have from the beginning just prayed for the truth to come out and for peace to be the result and that continues to be our prayers,” prosecutor John Guy said.

But prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda insisted the fundamentals of the case should have favored the prosecution. “We respect the jury’s verdict but really this is about a kid being followed by a stranger,” de la Rionda said.

Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney advising the Martin family, echoed that plea. “For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful,” Crump said at a press conference.

Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, told reporters that he believed Zimmerman will now try to return to a normal life. O’Mara said that Zimmerman was used as a “scapegoat” by people who wanted to create a civil rights violation, and was thus overcharged in the crime. “It certainly wouldn’t have happened if he was black,” O’Mara said of his client being charged with murder.

O’Mara also compared the media to “mad scientists” who had turned his client into a “monster” with shoddy reporting.

O’Mara mentioned that he will vigorously defend any forthcoming civil charges against his client, and that he may seek to recoup some of Zimmerman’s defense costs from the state.

Witnesses gave conflicting testimony over who was the aggressor of the fight and both Zimmerman’s family and Martin’s family have claimed it was their relative who could be heard screaming for help in the background of a 911 call during the fight.

Zimmerman wasn’t arrested in the shooting for weeks, after a public outcry. Bill Lee, then the police chief of Sanford, said Zimmerman was justified under Florida’s stand your ground self defense law. Lee lost his job after the incident, and a special prosecutor was appointed to argue the case.

Why US Succeeded But Egypt Didn’t

“BREAKING NEWS” was the first thing I saw today when I opened up the political news. “Military Coup Has Toppled President Morsi.” I wasn’t surprised.

It should have been obvious from the start that Egypt’s democracy wasn’t working. Many people were already very unhappy with Morsi and his previous power grab. They did not like how he strengthened the Muslim Brotherhood Party’s hold on the government. Polls showed that many were increasingly unhappy with how Morsi was handling the government. And now, the inevitable: Morsi is toppled.

The fact that this occurred near July 4th almost seems to be planned by a higher being, given that the same day Egypt’s democracy didn’t work was also the day when US democracy did work. And it gives rise to a very important question: Why did the US succeed in being democratic whereas other nations, specifically Egypt, did not?

the leader who united the USA

Well, first off, lets look at the leaders. President Morsi. Although he was democratically elected, he did so by winning only a little bit above 50% of the vote. Obviously meaning that only half of the country supported him. Also meaning that the other half did not. Also meaning his support wasn’t very strong. This is perhaps the biggest reason why he was toppled. Now look at the other leader- George Washington. He got elected without an election. He did not get 50% of the vote, 70% of the vote, or 90% of the vote,  he got 100% of the vote. He was unanimously elected, simply put. Obviously this shows the overwhelming support Washington had, compared to Morsi’s support.

It is this element of support that is essential to the founding of a democracy. The democracy’s weakest times are usually in the beginning, in the founding of it, because it is the time in which people tend to disagree the most on how to start a democracy. One could say that the number one factor preventing democracies is the lack of unity. In Egypt, we obviously see that. In America, it was also the case, too, when the 13 colonies were constantly in disagreement over what should be included in the Constitution and what not. Thus the reason why there is the word “United” in the “United States of America”- the Founding Fathers were emphasizing on the need to unite.

What better way to unite a people together than to have an American hero- George Washington- to serve as the gluing factor between all the disagreeing people? In this case, we see the need for a united leadership as important as ever- if it was not for Washington, the United States of America would soon become un-united because of many other issues, such as slavery, and thus there wouldn’t have been the USA we know today. Whereas Washington helped promote unity, Morsi promoted division- simply because only half of the nation wanted him and because of his controversial politics.

The other thing- religion. Just the fact that there is the word “Muslim” on the name “Muslim Brotherhood Party” ruined it all. Yes, the Muslims like it. But that just alienates the non-Muslims, creating not unity but rather division. Even worse- the party made it forbidden to defame the Shariah, or a Muslim prophet. Although it may have the best of intentions, it almost seems as if the government is favoring the Muslim religion over others. Overall, not only is the name brand bad, but the actions made it worse. Now take a look at America: there was no religion involved. In fact, the Founding Fathers wanted religion to keep out of the way. They were smart enough to know that religion divided many people and caused bloodshed. Since they wanted a united nation, they made the important amendment of seperation between church and state.

The theme here is unity. The reason why the United States succeeded in forming a democracy was because it was united. In fact, after they wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers wanted to stall its publicity until June, because they were afraid America wasn’t united enough. Whereas in Egypt, they jumped right into democracy when they weren’t ready yet because the Egyptian people were still divided.

Hopefully, Egypt can learn from the US. As we celebrate Independence Day today in the US, let us all pray that Egypt can celebrate their independence day soon.

Uncle Sam, Stop Spying On Me!

Currently raging in the news is the breach on the individual privacy. It has been leaked that the government has been tracking American phone calls and American conversations through phone (specifically Verizon) and internet services. A scandal has broken out where the government was allegedly tracking newspaper reporters’ phone calls. As one sees this pattern, one begins to see that our constitutional rights are being ignored- more namely, our right to privacy.

The fourth amendment- “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

patriotact_infographic_butt.jpg

What All This Spying Is Doing Essentially

Obviously, this amendment is bullshit to the the government. Tracking American phone calls…. that’s not a reasonable search… in fact those are  “unreasonable searches.” It’s not like all Verizon phone users are planning to destroy America. If they were, then yes, this tracking is reasonable and therefore constitutionally valid. But the fact its, that’s not the case. Same thing with the newspaper reporters. It’s not like they did anything illegal. So the reason for tracking their phone calls is “unreasonable” and therefore constitutionally invalid.

Now, before I go rambling on, let’s take the root of this. Why did all of this spying start in the first place? The answer is simple and infamous: the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Right at that moment, American government policy changed forever. Soon, airplane checks were more tight, the Department of Homeland Security was established, and agencies such as the CIA and the FBI were granted (unconstitutional) access to phone calls, private conversations, etc. All resulting from the fear of a terrorist attack happening again.

Now, seriously, America (or at least the government) has to stop being overdramatic. Yes, the 9/11 attacks were sad. Yes, they were horrible. But that doesn’t mean the American government can all of a sudden go crazy and take away all constitutional rights. It’s like a mother, after seeing her child being killed by a gangster, starting a full-scale program aimed at destroying all the gangs in the world, thinking she would be able to prevent anything like her child’s death from happening again.

Obviously, the mother won’t be able to truly destroy all the gangs in the world. Similarly, America can never eliminate terrorism and violence. Think about it: did all this spying and surveillance stop the Boston Marathon Bombings? No. The Newtown Tragedy? No. All the various other bombings/shootings that happened in America? No. Simply put, we have proof that this spying doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to be.

I also want to bring out Osama Bin Laden. Why did he initiate the 9/11 attacks in the first place? Because, he wanted to destroy American morale. To destroy the American spirit. He wanted America to suffer. He wanted America to not be  America anymore. Did he achieve these goals? So far, it seems so. How, you might ask?

Well, what does it mean to destroy America? Is it to actually explode the whole continent literally? If that was how Bin Laden thought of it, then he is one stupid guy to think just one terrorist attack would destroy a whole continent. So if this is not the case, then what is it? Well, what embodies America? What makes it different from other nations? The answer is that we have a constitution, we have rights that are actually recognized, and that those rights are actually respected. To destroy America, then, would mean to take away these rights.

Overall, this is perhaps what Bin Laden wanted. And it sure is coming true, given all this spying. That’s one right taken away- the right to privacy. In fact, other rights have been also been violated, too- the torture of terrorism supsects, the targeting of Muslim Americans, etc. Man, Bin Laden is sure cackling delightfully in his afterlife.

Of course, now the question is this: which is more important- constitutional rights or national security? Let’s compare the costs of these two, in general for America. Let’s say we lean to constitutional rights. There will perhaps be more terrorist attacks. But would you say terrorist attacks are that bad? For the individual, yes, but for America as a whole, I actually find it quite positive. I mean, look at the aftermath of 9/11. America saw a sense of patriotism that hadn’t been seen for a long time.

Now, what happens if we lean to national security? There will be more violations of constitutional rights. You might say what’s the big deal, but let me show you. Remember Hitler? During his rise to power, the legislature decreed that because of a national emergency of the various nations posing a threat to Germany, they would grant Hitler unprecedented power for four years, and he could overpower the constitution. Later, they extended that to four more years, then another four more years, but essentially it said that Hitler could do whatever he want for the rest of his time in office. In other words, Hitler could disavow all constitutional rights and do whatever he wanted. Now, we all know what happened: Hitler exploited this and Germany became the infamous Nazi Germany and the national emergency was all an excuse.

This is reminding me of America’s current situation. Because of a the 9/11 national emergency, the government could be granted unprecedented power over the constitution, such as spying on private conversations, torturing terrorist prisoners, etc. If we continue on this trend, it is possible that more rights will be disavowed, and perhaps even the whole constitution, all because of a national emergency. Politicians will exploit this so-called national emergency to encroach on more rights so they can have more power. America might even become an authoritarian state like Nazi Germany- in other words, sort of like a police state, in which all citizens are being watched and have to do what the government constrains them to do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want America to be like Nazi Germany. To me, the costs of this is much more serious than the costs of a few terrorist attacks. Because America won’t be America anymore.

Overall, leaning to constitutional rights is perhaps the better decision. If we lean the other way, then Bin Laden has won.