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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/9/20

Mile Markers of Tyranny: Losing Our Freedoms on the Road from 9/11 to COVID-19

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You can map the nearly 20-year journey from the 9/11 attacks to the COVID-19 pandemic by the freedoms we've lost along the way.

The road we have been traveling has been littered with the wreckage of our once-vaunted liberties, especially those enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

The assaults on our freedoms that began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act laid the groundwork for the eradication of every vital constitutional safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdowns, mask mandates, surveillance, snitch lines for Americans to report their fellow citizens for engaging in risky behavior, and veiled threats of forced vaccinations has merely provided the architects of the American police state with an opportunity to flex their muscles.

These have become mile markers on the road to tyranny.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution, post-9/11 and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault.

The Second Amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government, yet Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against government agents armed with military weapons better suited to the battlefield.

With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces, it is clear that we now have what the founders feared mosta standing army on American soilin violation of the Third Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The government conveniently manages to disregard the Fifth and the Sixth Amendments' assurances of due process, a fair trial, and property rights in its so-called war on crime.

Not surprisingly, the government continues to attempt to undermine the power of the jury to nullify the government's actionsand thereby help balance the scales of justiceunder the Seventh Amendment.

The Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment provides little protection from a government that condones torture tactics and the death penalty.

The Ninth Amendment's affirmation of the people's rights has been turned on its head by a federal government that sees itself and its powers as supreme.

As for the Tenth Amendment's reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government's powers could be expanded.

Mind you, by "government," I'm not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I'm referring to the Deep Statethe corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that has set itself beyond the reach of the law and is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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