An AP story, out this morning concerning Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, and how the town has been under a week-long 24-hour lockdown, and how the town supports and justifies the jackbooted trampings of the United States Constitution (Councilman ‘Red’ Johnson: “As far as I’m concerned, at 3 o’clock in the morning, nobody has any right being on the street except the law. Anyone out at 3 o’clock shouldn’t be out on the street, unless you’re going to the hospital.”) are all the evidence necessary to support the claim I make in the title to this submission.
Ben Franklin’s response to the female inquirer outside the Philadelphia hall, when asked what kind of government the delegates had given the newly designed country, “A republic, if you can keep it,” has been proven frighteningly prescient.
It’s clear, just as was the case in Germany in the 30’s, Americans will, at the drop of a hat, drop a dime on the definition of civil rights and any aspiration to them, and will give an “authority” complete authority to do whatever it wants, if it will just tell them it will make them safe. “Oh, the terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming, protect me, Mistah Red, suh.”
The situation described by AP tells of the poverty-stricken town’s collapse into drug-fueled violence and random shootings, and how the City Council voted 9-0 to enact a 24-hour curfew and to authorize police, armed with military assault weapons, to stop and detain anyone at anytime for any reason.
Let’s get something said conclusively: no one in America should ever be expected to live in fear for their personal safety, or in fear for the safety of any of their children, relatives, or neighbors. As the preamble to the Constitution makes perfectly clear, one of its most fundamental purposes was to “insure domestic tranquility.” But the Framers, students all of history and of human nature, also immediately recognized the inherent predisposition of authority to despotism. To thwart, to the best of their ability, the despotic bent all governments incline to they followed the penned architecture of the government with Amendments to protect the citizenry against that very government.
But oh, I sigh in sadness: how readily we are willing to trade liberty for a temporary security. And, once again, to cop the words of Mr. Franklin, we are clearly deserving of neither.
If the situation outlined by AP truly is that dire, the only course is to call upon the governor in Little Rock, to petition the office for a declaration of martial law and the assistance of the Arkansas militia or state police. That would set in motion highly specific and highly monitored legal procedures that would protect both the citizenry and the Constitution. But to turn the town and the United States Constitution over to straw-hatted Bubba . . . and what he determines you should be doing at any given time of the day . . .
The opinion voiced by Red just sickens me so. I’ve got more than a few words for him, and for all who feel as does he, that he has some right, from somewhere that has yet to be disclosed to anybody, to, on nothing more than a whim, demand I or anyone else explain to him what I’m doing . . . Problem is: this publication refuses to print a train of the most scatological profanity.
The truth is truth and I’ve got some tough truth to report. America is not the home of the “brave,” it’s the home of the gutless and cowardly. All that’s asked and expected, however, is to let the sheep think they are that which their behaviors demonstrate they most assuredly are not. We’ll all jiss let Red (or, President Bush) tek keer of it. He’s in charge. Red knows best whut ta do.
Excuse me . . . I’m feeling sick, and I think I’m going to throw up now.
— Ed Tubbs
PS — Of course I welcome responses, those that disagree as well as those that agree. But I’ve got to insist that only those retaining the courage of their convictions to include their real name and the city where they reside, exactly as they would for any letter to the editor, will be read or responded to. Now is the time for all of us to live up to the words and sentiments in our National Anthem.