Non-Negotiable: The 4th Amendment

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any mention of exceptions for the sake of increasing security. Why then, do we even acknowledge arguments of supposed increased security from those who have infringed upon our rights? Well, they say, the 4th Amendment doesn’t matter if bad people kill you, right? That’s how I thought of it when the Patriot Act was introduced a few years back, and that’s the exact sheep-like mentality that authoritative governments prey upon.

Fast forward a few years and we find that again, as the founding fathers predicted, concentrated power cannot be trusted. The NSA has undeniably infringed upon our right to freedom from unreasonable searches. What would really scare the founding fathers though, is the fact that a majority of the American public is duped by politicians who are embarrassed that these illegitimate programs (which they allowed to exist) are coming to light. I was one of the people duped a few years ago, but I’ve learned my lesson. They fooled me once (shame on them), but the shame is all ours if we allow ourselves to be fooled again.

The NSA, Boehner, Obama and the rest of the crew claims that we have nothing to worry about, as these programs have safeguards to protect our rights. Are they referring, at least in part, to the FISA court? Is this the FISA court that, for example, rejected ZERO of the thousands of search applications in 2011? ZERO?!  Am I really supposed to believe that not a single search application through the FISA system in 2011 was over-stepping constitutional bounds?

Those stats don’t illustrate the scale of millions of illegitimate searches conducted on people’s mobile phone meta data either. Does simply being a Verizon customer constitute probable cause? Collecting meta data IS a search, regardless of what your friend in the federal government would like you to believe.

To say that autonomously collecting meta data is not a search because it supposedly isn’t analyzed is analogous to saying that police invading my home and take pictures of my property doesn’t qualify as a search so long as they did so with a blind fold on, and double pinky swear not to ever actually pull these pictures out of their file cabinet and analyze them unless I’m suspected of a crime. But thankfully, we have the FISA back room judges in place to protect our rights, so I might as well remove my tin foil hat and rest easy, right?

The founders believed that your God-given rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are not negotiable – do you believe the same? It’s time to wake up fellow citizen. The federal government is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the wolf is clever enough to say all the right things as it slowly leads this country, and the liberties it stands for, to an untimely death. We must ask ourselves if we are really beating the terrorists when, in the process, our government consumes the freedoms upon which this country stood in the first place. As the anniversary of our independence approaches, I challenge you to remember what Teddy Roosevelt once said: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it”. And if Teddy’s quote wasn’t enough, I’ll leave you with an infamous quote from one of the people who crafted that spectacular document referenced at the beginning of this post: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin