Stop Spying and Start Protecting
Watch out, Grandma -- you'd better skip your Sunday call to Osama bin Laden.
We learned last week that the National Security Agency, with help from Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth, has been tracking the phone calls of "tens of millions" of Americans -- in secret, without a warrant, and without Congress's approval.
This is a waste of resources. President Bush will never stop al-Qaeda by tracking millions of innocent Americans -- grandparents, veterans, and you. Instead, he should start guarding our borders, ports, nuclear plants, and chemical facilities. According to the Homeland Security Department, only 6 percent of cargo containers are inspected. Five years after the terrorist attacks, this is not only dangerous, but treasonous.
In addition to being a waste of resources, this expansion of government power invades our privacy and tramples our freedoms. Such intrusions into our personal lives belong in the Soviet Union, not the United States.
Thankfully, Republicans and Democrats are upset. A Newsweek poll shows that 57 percent of Americans think the president has "gone too far in expanding presidential power."
And to people who say, "I've got nothing to hide": In America, we are innocent until proven guilty. These programs, however, assume that we're all guilty, and they require us to prove our innocence. This is un-American.
We must speak up now. Talk to your neighbors. Call your politicians and your phone company. Tell them to stop spying on patriotic Americans and start protecting our country, our freedoms. Because if our government continues to spy on ordinary Americans, then the terrorists have succeeded in destroying our way of life.
I wrote the above letter and sent it to several newspapers. To my surprise, it was published in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, and Toledo Blade, among others. It must have been a slow news week.
This issue frustrates me because the threat is severe, and our leaders are failing. We are in a war--a war to protect our freedoms, our democracy, our way of life from terrorists. Yet, the president has done little to correct our weaknesses in homeland security and, instead, has curtailed the freedoms we're trying to protect.