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Kick Open the Doorway to Liberty: What Are We Waiting For?

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Everything this nation once stood for is being turned on its head.

Free speech, religious expression, privacy, due process, bodily integrity, the sanctity of human life, the sovereignty of the family, individuality, the right to self-defense, protection against police abuses, representative government, private property, human rights--the very ideals that once made this nation great--have become casualties of a politically correct, misguided, materialistic, amoral, militaristic culture.

Indeed, I'm having a hard time reconciling the America I know and love with the America being depicted in the daily news headlines, where corruption, cronyism and abuse have taken precedence over the rights of the citizenry and the rule of law.

What kind of country do we live in where it's acceptable for police to shoot unarmed citizens, for homeowners to be jailed for having overgrown lawns, for kids to be tasered and pepper sprayed for acting like kids at school, and for local governments to rake in hefty profits under the guise of traffic safety?

Why should we Americans have to put up with the government listening in on our phone calls, spying on our emails, subjecting us to roadside strip searches, and generally holding our freedoms hostage in exchange for some phantom promises of security?

As I document in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it doesn't matter where you live--big city or small town--it's the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

In such an environment, it's not just our Fourth Amendment rights--which protect us against police abuses--that are being trampled. It's also our First Amendment rights to even voice concern over these practices that are being muzzled. Just consider some of the First Amendment battles that have taken place in recent years, and you too will find yourself wondering what country you're living in:

Harold Hodge was arrested for standing silently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, holding a sign in protest of police tactics.

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Marine Brandon Raub was arrested for criticizing the government on Facebook.

Pastor Michael Salman was arrested for holding Bible studies in his home.

Kenneth Webber was fired from his job as a schoolbus driver for displaying a Confederate flag on the truck he uses to drive from home to school and back.

Fred Marlow was arrested for filming a SWAT team raid that took place across from his apartment.

And then there were the three California high school public school students who were ordered to turn their American flag t-shirts inside out on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) because school officials were afraid it might cause a disruption and/or offend Hispanic students.

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While there are all kinds of labels being put on so-called "unacceptable" speech today, from calling it politically incorrect and hate speech to offensive and dangerous speech, the real message being conveyed is that Americans don't have a right to express themselves if what they are saying is unpopular, controversial or at odds with what the government determines to be acceptable.

What we're seeing is the caging of free speech and the asphyxiation of the First Amendment.

Long before the menace of the police state, with its roadside strip searches, surveillance drones, and SWAT team raids, it was our First Amendment rights that were being battered by political correctness, hate crime legislation, the war on terror and every other thinly veiled rationale used to justify censoring our free speech rights.

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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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