Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy 4th of July?

Happy birthday America! Wow, you sure look a young 230-something. You know, they say the 230s are really the new 220s. So rock out with your cock out this birthday.

Since patriotism is the natural topic of the day, let me share a little something with you. Now when people talk about civil liberties and freedoms the mind instantly focuses on the war in Iraq/ Afghanistan and the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Let’s leave that alone this 4th of July and focus instead on something closer to home.

I, your humble Jewish redneck blogger, am considered a terror threat by the TSA and the U.S. government. I am a second class citizen when it comes to travel or large loan amounts. Many of you know of my Kafkaesque experiences when purchasing and wire transferring money for the purchase of my two homes over the years, but as I draw within 24 hours of once again boarding a plane for a simple jog down to Austin for a long weekend, I once again am faced with the accusations of an unknown, faceless complainant. I’ve pursued the available actions for recourse with the end result being, I’m still in the “no-fly” list and the government continues to deny to inform me why. When asked, the response comes back, “The U.S. government doesn’t have to give out that kind of information.” And they don’t.

You’ve heard of babies being on the list, Nelson Mandela and his entire African National Congress (the governing body of South Africa), and of course, Ted Kennedy. Seriously, were they afraid he’d drink them dry of gin and send the entire city of Washington, D.C. into a panic if he got on a plane back from Vegas? Well, now you can say you actually know someone on the list.

Yes, this American born, tax paying, voting, working citizen, Jewish 30-something is on the terror watch list. Why? I have no idea. What I do know is I get extra special attention at the airport, I can’t check-in on-line or even at the airport kiosks, and I’m sick and tired of it.

How can we claim to be fighting for the freedom of others when we continue to deny even basic due process to our own citizens? How can we let OUR government continue to flip their nose up at the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments to OUR precious Constitution? Will we continue to offer up our freedoms and liberties in an effort to protect ourselves from those we claim are coming to steal it?

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." Thomas Jefferson, December 23, 1791.

This holiday weekend, think long and hard what being an American means to you. Then, consider what the reality of being an American in this day and age really means.

Have a safe 4th of July weekend.

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