Thanks and Giving - By Lady Liberty - Price of Liberty
Thanks and Giving
By Lady Liberty

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December 02, 2003

It's that time of year again when some of us mentally compile lists of those things for which we're thankful, while others of us are too busy composing lengthy gift giving - and gift wanting - lists to consider much else. Personally, I'm caught up in both at the moment, and in the interest of time-savings, I'm going to share my lists with you as this week's commentary.

I am thankful...

...that authorities have already managed to use USA PATRIOT Act provisions in a widely publicized investigation that has nothing to do with terrorism (and there are other instances as well, albeit not so well known). Now a host of citizens who previously denied officials would ever take advantage of the expanded powers they were granted have been shown that they were wrong. It is because of that widely publicized instance that angry citizens, who are feeling betrayed by government promises, are learning more about the USA PATRIOT Act and, in many cases, taking action against it. People are finally beginning to understand that the PATRIOT Act terrorism-fighting intentions are outweighed by its threat to civil liberties. More cities and localities are passing ordinances against cooperation with federal law enforcement PATRIOT Act operations, and, as a direct result of complaints and actions by local government entities and individuals alike, Congress is finally preparing to take some action to mitigate portions of the PATRIOT Act.

I am thankful...

...that the MATRIX program has been shown to be even more insidious than was the now defunct Total Information Awareness Program. The existence of MATRIX, and the federal funding behind the private contractor actually running the program, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the hypocrisy and duplicity endemic at virtually all levels of government today. That confirmed knowledge will go a long way towards energizing more Americans to demand a change of politics - or, if that demand isn't satisfied, a change of politicians.

I am thankful...

...that there have been more than 10,000 abuses of eminent domain over the course of the five years from 1998 through 2002. Although I am deeply sorry for those who have suffered from such abuse, there have now been so many cases that property owners everywhere are beginning to realize it could be their property that's seized next. Property owners in general are now more inclined to side with the abused rather than the abusers and that means that there will be fewer cases of abuse in the months and years to come (witness, for example, the citizens of Lakewood, Ohio who halted an eminent domain action via the ballot box this fall despite promises from city officials that the condemnation of a few homes would mean a better standard of living for everybody else).

I am thankful that there are truths to old clichÈs like, "Every cloud has a silver lining."

I am also thankful that there is nothing I genuinely need this holiday season. I have a comfortable home, and can afford to buy good food and decent clothing. I have a circle of close friends that offer love and laughter on a regular and frequent basis. I have activities I enjoy in my spare time (such as it is). I have a job I love, working for a boss I like. And I have enough that I can give something to others less fortunate than I. But since I'm in the process of writing a list of what I want for Christmas this year, well...

I want...

...more citizens to educate themselves as to their rights and the current threats against them, and then to vote accordingly in the next election (although voter turnout isn't as high as many would like it to be, I'm not referring to voter turnout as a whole, but to educated voter turnout). A good place to start? Read current news stories involving events having a direct relationship to the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Go to your favorite search engine and enter phrases like "patriot act" or "matrix terror database" or "free speech" (yes, you should type terms in lower case to maximize your search results). Subscribe to Action Alerts emails (many sites, including my own, offer them). Read a book about American history or the current state of liberty in America today (if you don't know where to start, check out the offerings from L. Neil Smith, Boston T. Party, Vin Suprynowicz, Claire Wolfe, or one of the books I've reviewed in the past).

I want...

...Americans to exercise their First Amendment right to petition the government and contact their Congressional Representatives and Senators when a bill they support or oppose is headed for committee or coming up for a vote. Take advantage of the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, and speak up - loudly! - when you see something wrong.

I want...

...each and every one of you who doesn't currently belong to some organization whose purpose is to defend your rights to join one. The Institute for Justice supports the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights. First Amendment activists will find good information and resources from the Center for Democracy and Technology or the First Amendment Cyber Tribune. Those who favor the Second Amendment (and anyone who favors the other amendments must support the Second by which the others are guaranteed) should consider membership in Gunowners of America, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, or the Second Amendment Sisters. Fourth and Fifth Amendment advocacy groups include NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, suggested here in large part because the War on Drugs represents the greatest single threat to Fourth Amendment rights), FEAR (Forfeiture Endangers American Rights), The Castle Coalition, and the Property Rights Foundation. Contribute money and word-of-mouth to the efforts of Don't Spy on Us. And there are others. Choose one listed here, or find another you prefer, but get involved!

I want...

...all of those already involved in the freedom movement to consider taking the next step and becoming fully immersed in working for liberty. Volunteer on a political campaign for a candidate or issue you believe in. If you're not already a member, consider joining up with the Free State Project (members will be relocating to New Hampshire to begin efforts to form - and reform - a Constitutional state there), or send an email to get more information about the Free State Wyoming project (the group won't have a web site until early next year) which will be working toward the same goals, but in Wyoming.

The truth of the matter is that I do have things to be thankful for this year, as do most people. But I still very much want the things I listed above for Christmas - or for whatever other reason you choose. That's because, given all that I'm thankful for as 2003 draws to a close, it's patently obvious that I - and all Americans- need these things. It's only by giving everything we can that we'll be able to hold on for another year to that precious gift we each most value, the one we are truly most thankful for, the gift of freedom.

Lady Liberty is a pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House. E-mail Lady Liberty at ladylibrty@ladylibrty.com


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