Last updated: September 30. 2013 11:07PM - 1109 Views

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Loss of freedoms

can happen here

“It Can’t Happen Here” is a satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis in 1935 in response to the rise of Fascism in Europe during that time. The book centers on the problematic rise of a populist United States senator (“Buzz Windrip”) who becomes president of the United States. Promising to reform government and restore traditional and patriotic values, Windrip does just the opposite. With the help of a paramilitary force comprised of ruthless young men, he seizes control of the government. The plot also centers on a newspaperman’s (“Doremus Jessup”) effort to call attention to, and discredit, the new regime.

The book’s underlying premise is that America is not immune to Fascism. It could happen right in our own backyard if we fall asleep at the wheel. The American people have become complacent about the government’s deliberate attempt to circumvent our freedoms. The media has too. (Doremus must be rolling over in his grave!) Many of us are operating under the mistaken assumption that our elected officials are doing what’s best for the nation. This may be true, at least from their perspective. It seems that many have forgotten that they were elected into office to vote the views of the people who elected them rather than their own views or the views of special-interest groups. There is no question that this is a different America than the one I was raised in over one-half century ago. Our liberties are being taken away from us little by little.

I could provide a litany of examples that support this claim including restrictions on free speech and religious freedom because of political correctness, government infringement on the right to bear arms, invasion of privacy, mandated purchases and consumption requirements, excessive rules and regulations impeding economic growth and confiscatory taxes that undermine initiative and foster apathy. I am not certain that the average American understands the significance and potential fallout stemming from the recent IRS and NSA scandals and how government overreach is compromising our basic rights and freedoms.

The IRS has been systematically targeting conservative based groups seeking tax-exempt status. Individuals expressing conservative viewpoints are being flagged for extra scrutiny while liberal organizations are being given a relatively free pass. Citizens from both sides of the political aisle should be equally alarmed insofar as this could potentially affect everyone regardless of party affiliation.

The same applies to the NSA domestic spying program that’s been secretly gathering data on US citizens. That government authorities have assured the American people that this information is “only” being stored is not the overriding issue. That it could be arbitrarily retrieved at a moment’s notice should be a concern to every American who values privacy and feels, perhaps, that the cost of security has become prohibitive.

These are further examples of how the government is depriving us of our freedoms. It could very well happen here, if it hasn’t already.

Alipio Baldi

Yonkers, New York

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