Once a land of pioneers, entrepreneurs, and revolutionaries, the United States of America has degenerated into a land of followers, dependents, and spineless wimps. As Leonard Pitts Jr. says:
[W]hen it comes to finding courage to simply be Americans, to venerate the values upon which we were founded, the things we say we believe, we have too often been conspicuous by our cowardice, our spineless eagerness to throw sacred principle aside as a sop to expedience and fear.
In times of danger or fear, we seem to feel it OK to curtail the freedoms -- of religion, association, speech -- codified in that "scrap of paper." We never seem to get that it is precisely in such times that those freedoms are most important and most in need of defense.
So everything that has happened since [9/11/01] -- the curtailment of civil liberties, the domestic surveillance, the demonizing of all things Muslim -- is troubling, but predictable to any student of American history.
James Madison once wrote that:
Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
Ten years into a perpetual "War on Terror," Madison's wise words have been more than vindicated. After all, America has turned into a paramilitarized Nation of Fear, wherein the serfs readily surrender their God-given liberty and submit to their earthly masters, er, "leaders."
The left have always loved their masters, but what about conservatives, who allegedly perceive "the need for prudent restraints upon power?"
Watered-down and grossly redefined by Bush Republicanism, the "War on Terror" became the Be-All and End-All of plumb-line conservatism. So, the sacred principle of prudent restraints on power was thrown away "as a sop to expedience and fear." The ends justify the means.
Government agents must be able to do whatever they want, wherever they want, and whenever they want. Especially the president! Laws are for serfs not "leaders." And so in an act of blind obedience, conservatives became the most vocal group of Americans to feverishly support the PATRIOT Act at the expense of the Constitution. Anything in the name of "National Security."
Now, the National Football League (NFL), who recently teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is jumping into the game with "enhanced" pat-down procedures of their own. At all 32 NFL stadiums!
The NFL wants all fans patted down from the ankles up this season to improve fan safety.
Under the new "enhanced" pat-down procedures, the NFL wants all 32 clubs to search fans from the ankles to the knees as well as the waist up. Previously, security guards only patted down fans from the waist up while looking for booze, weapons or other banned items.
The stricter physical screening policy impacts the 16.6 million fans expected to attend live regular season NFL games this season. The more thorough searches will spell longer lines for ticket-holding fans seeking entry to games. It's sure to raise the ire of some fans who consider it an invasion of privacy.
The NFL recommended the new guidelines before the kickoff of the 2011 season which coincided with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The league hopes fans will be "patient," says spokesman Brian McCarthy, and arrive earlier to games to avoid long, punishing lines.
Well, my days of going to watch the Detroit Lions live are done and gone.
Not that I'll miss much (if anything).
Just as the federal government's "enemies" list now include us, the NFL's implicit message to fans is: "If you want to see an NFL game live, you’re probably a criminal."
Just another day in our paramilitarized Nation of Fear.
In the post-9/11 world in which we live, paranoia is standard operating procedure. Those that are responsible for security are far more interested in "covering their backsides" than they are in respecting the liberty, freedom and dignity of average Americans. America is rapidly turning into a high-security prison. When naked body scanners and "enhanced pat-downs" went into U.S. airports, those that warned that we would soon see these types of "Big Brother" security measures pop up at train stations, bus stations, shopping malls and sporting events were dismissed as "conspiracy theorists". But it turns out that the "conspiracy theorists" did not even fully understand how quickly all of this nonsense was going to spread. How much "security" is going to be enough? Where in the world is the line going to be drawn? If groping all fans is "necessary" for security at all NFL games, how long will it be before it is implemented at all other sporting events across the United States?
The truth is that no matter how hard they try, those in charge of our "security" cannot keep us perfectly safe. Life is dangerous and bad things are going to happen no matter how much "security" you throw around.
We have a choice. We can live as free men without fear, or we can cower in terror and call for increasingly repressive layers of "security". If we continue on the path that we are on, this nation is going to become a totalitarian "Big Brother" police state so repressive that it will make our founding fathers roll over in their graves.
In fact, they are probably already rolling over in their graves.
Do you enjoy living in a prison grid? That is what this country is becoming.
Once upon a time, going to an NFL game was great fun. But like with so many other things, "Big Brother" is sucking all of the joy out of that too.
Are we just cogs in the collective machine?
When will it be "enough," America? When will it be enough?
More on the NFL's "Enhanced" Pat-Downs: