Thursday, March 19, 2009

Evidence that, perhaps, we're going insane

I received an email yesterday that I've been hesitant to share. Why?

Well, frankly, I don't really want to believe it. The email is the same as this column here at Chuck Baldwin's website. Who's Chuck Baldwin? Well, at this point, he's an independent Baptist pastor in Florida. He was the Constitution Party candidate for President of the United States.

And now, according to a report from a 'Fusion Center,' having been a supporter of Chuck Baldwin is a potential indicator that a person might be a domestic terrorist. What's a fusion center? Essentially, it's a joint federal/state/local law enforcement group that supposed to help make America safer, and help various law enforcement agencies work together to share useful information. Alternately, it's a place for the federal government to do what they do second-best, boss around everybody else as if they are the only people with brains. (What do they do first best? TAX AND SPEND!) Depends on who is running it and what they think.

This particular fusion center report was about the American militia movement. Remember the Oklahoma City bombing? The folks involved were members of parts of the militia movement. Some militia movement folks are close to ok, some are into treason. The difference? There are people in the militia movement that think the US is close to collapse as the constitutional republic we are, and they are arming and preparing to try and restore that. Those folks are, for the most part, ok. Then there are some who advocate that the US government has crossed the line already, and advocate violence to overthrow it. I don't think that's appropriate. I also do not think violence targeted to cause sheer mayhem and chaos or used against civilians is ever appropriate. (and yes, to be consistent, I have misgivings about some actions of our country in the past 200 years. America is capable of mistakes.)

So, there are lots of factors that could indicate a person is involved with a militia movement. The problem with this report is that supporting a third-party candidate, particularly the ones that advocated small-federal government, is considered an indicator. What? These people were legitimate candidates for President. Bob Barr is named, as are the supporters of Ron Paul. Now, this should aggravate you, even if you supported the winning campaign. Why? This is a step toward viewpoint suppression. Be careful who you support in politics, even legitimate candidates, because you could be labeled a terrorist for it.

There is no mention of the American Nazi party, or anything else. Now, Pastor Baldwin says the report calls him a terrorist. It really doesn't, but what he is doing is taking the next step. If supporting him this year makes you a terrorist, what does that make him? And with our elected President a friend of an unashamed domestic terrorist who fought (or still fights, perhaps) for more government domination, there will certainly be efforts to hold back the dissenting viewpoint. (and there were, certainly and illegally, some efforts towards that end by the previous administration, and by, well, everybody back to President Adams with the Alien and Sedition Acts, in 1798). So, the next thing will be that Pastor Baldwin is promoting 'hate speech' by calling sin, sin. Then somebody will do something that Chuck Baldwin, Ron Paul or Bob Barr would never endorse, but they'll have a bumper sticker or web history showing that they like one of these men. Then it will be that they encouraged or enabled the crime. Then, these guys will be considered 'terror leaders' or other such criminals. Simply for running for office, for advocating the Constitution over international opinions, for speaking their minds in accordance with the 1st Amendment, and for holding that the 2nd Amendment is important.

So, why does this matter so much to me? Well, for one, I supported Chuck Baldwin for President in 2008. So, does that make me a terrorist? I have some other warning signs. I think that our government is too big, I think that the current situation in the United States is untenable. Eventually, America will not be able to stand together as we are now. You just can't have millions of people living off the work of others forever. You can't have the deep ideological divides we have forever. In 1861 our country split over what a person was, over the question of how far and to whom rights belonged. We fought a very ugly war, and still bear some of the consequences of it. And we still can't answer the question of how far human rights extend. Do they extend to all races? Certainly, except that we need legislation to prove we are really letting it happen, even though some of the legislation is counter productive. Do they extend to all people? Well, except we don't know who people are. Are unborn children people? Aged adults that can't take care of themselves? The developmentally disabled? We can't keep killing inconvenient people around here. Eventually someone will find you inconvenient.

So, I match a decent portion of the issues raised in the report. Now, I'm afraid to go to Missouri, although the report, being a joint federal-state report, will have gone to other states, probably including the one I'm in. Now I have to wonder, am I a potential terrorist? When I go to get on an airplane, will I have trouble? Will I be blocked from purchasing a firearm? (by somebody other than my wife who is convinced we should finish paying off some bills before I go stock up. I think I should stock up and wait for somebody to bail me out. Or that since my fellow Americans own 36% of Citibank, ya'll should just let me off the hook. Come on, please?

I know that vague information is less than useful, but it's time to stop seeing terrorist under every rock. Period. Whether in Islam or the Constitution Party. Are some Muslims terrorists? Are there some wackos in the Constitution Party? Do Democrats like taxes? Is the Pope Catholic? We know the answer to all of these questions is a resounding "DUH! YES!" but lumping everyone together is dangerous to our liberty. It's really not very different from racial profiling or gender stereotyping.

So, it's up to you. Paranoia? Or live and let live? Let's use our heads and our common sense, not our phobia.


Also, here's a news article about the story here. It's more balanced than the above blog post or the official response. Which is what's supposed to happen in the news.

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