All too often we as conservatives tend to believe that our safety is on one end of a playground teeter-totter. We accept the premise that our rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, to have a jury trial, a right to an attorney and right to privacy are on one end, weighed against our rights to be free from crime. While this contrast is based in truth, we see our federal government taking it too far.
Not every protection of Constitutional rights is accompanied by the detriment of increased crime.
It stands to reason that data mining phone and internet records has the potential to stop terrorism crimes. But how much data is actually needed? Doesn’t a certain point come where the federal government is receiving too much information to help in any meaningful way? Is it possible that a warrant as broad as the PRISM program wastes government resources and doesn’t lead to stopping any terrorism crimes since they are directed at innocent citizens?
The debate over how much freedom we must trade for security needs to end. We shouldn’t trade any. But more importantly, in this day and age it is largely a misnomer. If one is to ask a man on the street whether they are willing to give up a little freedom for more security, the overwhelming majority will frighteningly say “yes.” We need to work on changing that, but it is the current reality. So as far as a debate point, it offers little substance.
The Republican Party doesn’t want to give up the tough on terrorism label because it is Republicans that have been pushing to keep America safe since 9/11, and it is a politically potent issue. Democrats controlled the White House for an entire generation with FDR because they controlled this issue. Republicans did the same during the Reagan and Bush I years.
Republicans need to start promoting both sides of that coin. Obama has done a commendable job of keeping the homeland safe. Both parties recognize that the American people aren’t going to abide Jihad on American soil. But what about privacy concerns? There is a mantle to be taken up by civil rights democrats or libertarian republicans in favor of individual rights.
The Republican Party can convince America that it shouldn’t have to choose between the two. We can have a level of both security and freedom. But the balance is getting out of whack.
Meanwhile, the President maintains that the balance is fine. Last week he stated that if the American people don’t trust the courts or the Congress, there exists a problem. Yet he knows the American people have a large deficiency of trust in its government. He himself became the first POTUS in history to publicly shame the Supreme Court at a televised State of the Union Address. It is POTUS that is constantly accusing Congress of looking out for big corporations, insurance companies, special interests and fringe political victories. Mr. Obama doesn’t trust government. And his entire speech comes on the heel of a revelation that the IRS has been targeting political opponents. This President lied to us about Benghazi, the last lied about Iraq, the one before that lied about Monica, before that – taxes, prior to that -- Iran Contra. Modern president’s lie and this is all post-Nixon.
We don’t trust the government and that is a very good thing. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We must be protecting the rights that we have now and requiring warrants and probable cause will not be the cause of a terrorist attack. Increased Constitutional protection does not mean an expanding number of terrorist attacks. We need to grab this issue.