Wednesday, June 12, 2013
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people
of good conscience to remain silent."
"I feel we won't have a free country. I know that we won't! In this country every single action done by people must be monitored by the government! It is ridiculous! Should we ask the government's permission if we wanna die? I hate, hate, hate this government!"
The above statement echoes the outrage by many Americans in reaction to the recent scandal of the NSA (National Security Administration) and their unjustified invasion of our privacy,through monitoring, collecting and storing our personal data. Our email, cell phones conversations and daily computer activities, are undergoing a stepped up surveillance by the National data center, a facility located 25 miles outside of Salt lake City used to combat cyber-terrorism and secure our nation against sudden attacks.
Ironically, the above statement is not a quote from an American citizen, but rather from a personal friend of mine. Her name is Nahid. She is a an English teacher living in Tehran, Iran. She knows firsthand the reality of what life is like living under the scrutiny and surveillance of an oppressive government that are masters at fear and intimidation.
The Iranian regime forbids any freedom of speech and arrests every journalist, blogger and lawyer that would dare to speak their mind or voice their opinion in opposition to any government policy.
"Oh come on, Randy, but that's Iran! Everyone knows they are a dictatorship! We have the bill of rights and the Constitution to protect us."
While that is certainly true, you could have fooled me! The present administration in Washington seems to ignore the protection and wisdom afforded by our forefathers who drafted these great documents to protect us from the reality of a tyrannical government.
In the recent weeks we have all been shocked and offended by the arrogance of The IRS targeting conservative groups and denying them a tax exempt status because of their religious and political orientation. It seems like our government is spinning out of control and sliding down a slippery slope towards a tyranny.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, issued a warning that we need to pay close attention to, declaring, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
Unlike Iran, we have the freedom to disagree publicly, write blogs, make videos, protest out on the streets and let our voice be heard everywhere. To remain silent is to invite a tyranny to slowly and subtley get its tentacles around our cherished liberties and suffocate them out of existence. Thomas Jefferson understood the "tentacles" of a tyranny, the oppressive power of a government out of control. As the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson served an ultimatum on the government of Great Britain freeing the colonies from an oppressive empire that prevented them from enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The NSA would have us believe that this type of surveillance is necessary to protect us from sudden terrorist attacks and in the end, its totally justifiable. But does the
end justify the means?
Benjamin Franklin, another wise political thinker and american statesman, once said,
"Any society that would give up liberty to gain a little security, will deserve neither and lose both."
Have we become so arrogant to ignore the wisdom of our forefathers? They labored day and night writing our precious constitutional documents in order to protect our freedom and insure our liberties. We need to heed the warning of Jefferson and avoid the danger of becoming complacent and silent. We need to stand face to face with The NSA and proclaim our fourth amendment rights that protect us from the unwarranted invasion of our privacy.
If we fail to defend our constitutional rights, we could end up sliding down the slippery slope to a tyranny. History sometimes teaches us bitter lessons that we wish we could forget. Iran learned a bitter lesson in 1979 and it didn't just happen overnight. Gradually, forces opposed to the rule of the Shah, decided they had enough of a secular government that had been too influenced by the west. Suddenly Iran was transformed from a Monarchy to a dictatorship, from the rule of a king to the tyranny of an Ayatollah.
Secular freedoms were soon swallowed up by the oppressive policies of a cruel dictator who ushered in a new law under the guise of the glory of Islam.
My dear friend Nahid is sending a message to you and me. She is desperate for our way of life and for our freedoms. She is trapped under the bondage of the government of Iran. Her cry for freedom is a warning to us.
We must not remain silent. The time is now to stand up and defend our rights while we can!