So where does that leave us?
Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives. And for as long as we let them, government officials will continue to trample on our rights, always justifying their actions as being for the good of the people.
Yet the government can only go as far as “we the people” allow. Therein lies the problem.
The problem is that we have suspended our moral consciences in favor of the police state. As Chris Hedges rightly told me years ago, “Not having to make moral choice frees you from a great deal of anxiety. It frees you from responsibility. And it assures that you will always be wrapped in the embrace of the powerful as long as, of course, you will do or dance to the tune the powers play… when you do what is right, you often have to understand that you are not going to be lauded and praised for it. Making a moral decision always entails risks, certainly to one’s career and to one’s standing in the community.”
The choice before us is clear, and it is a moral choice. It is the choice between tyranny and freedom, dictatorship and autonomy, peaceful slavery and dangerous freedom, and manufactured pipe dreams of what America used to be versus the gritty reality of what she is today.
Most of all, perhaps, the choice before us is that of being a child or a parent, of obeying blindly, never questioning, and marching in lockstep with the police state–or growing up, challenging injustice, standing up to tyranny, and owning up to our responsibilities as citizens, no matter how painful, risky, or uncomfortable it might be.
As author Erich Fromm warned in his book Civil Disobedience, “At this point in history, the capacity to doubt, to criticize and to disobey may be all that stands between a future for mankind and the end of civilization.”
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