Compels Us Act Essay
No longer can a newspaper editor publish an article that is critical of the government—even if it is legal—without fear that Big Brother may begin to survey his every thought and action.
This may very well be the most frightening aspect of the Patriot Act: the fact that the Act allows the government to spy on of its citizens, not just the bad ones.
When asked why he voted against the Patriot Act, Feingold responded that “we [Americans] will lose that war [on Terrorism] without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.” Essentially, Feingold argued that the Patriot Act is counter-productive: if government “security” is meant to protect American liberties, then the American people should not have to sacrifice their liberties to purchase security.
What purpose will “security” serve if there are no liberties left to defend?
An overwhelming sense of national unity overtook the country and Americans united to face the newly discovered threat of terrorism in a modern age.
Even upstanding American citizens can become targets of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance simply because of the manner in which they exercise their First Amendment rights (Beeson).
Ever since 1776, when American colonists first abandoned their ties with Britain to create an independent nation, American citizens have always cherished basic rights like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures (United States).
But after the unpredictable events of September 11, 2001, many citizens began to feel that they should give up some of their cherished rights in order to punish the perpetrators of the attacks and avoid future tragedies.
This means that if the FBI decides it wants to spy on a certain American citizen, it will most likely be able to do so, even without sufficient evidence.
Certainly, the United States government needs to have the power to monitor suspected terrorists—no upstanding American citizen is arguing about that—but the problem lies in the manner in which government monitoring occurs.
The American people rallied behind the Federal government and provided support.