Tuesday, 19 November 2002

Osama is Under Your Bed

by William Rivers Pitt

It's been a nervous week. Every night before bed, I've taken a broom handle and thrust it under my bed. Each time, I'm waiting for the "Oof!" Osama is under there, I just know it. If the President says it, it must be true, right? One of these nights, I'll bust that Osama in the ribs with my handle. Just you wait. I'm keeping my feet under the covers, though. You know, just in case.

It happens like clockwork these days: A significant piece of legislation comes before Congress that was ostensibly drafted to help defend the nation against terrorism. Line items within the legislation do away with previously sacrosanct personal freedoms outlined within the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Should said legislation pass, the power of the federal government to arrest and detain citizens without trial or access to attorney, to search private homes without warrant or notice, to tap telephone and computer communications, and to keep vital information secreted away from the eyes of the public, would be greatly enhanced.

In the days leading up to the mandated Congressional debate regarding said legislation, terror warnings suddenly bloom like nightshade. The White House or the FBI or the CIA, or all three in concert, ratchet up the national tension level with forecasts of doom and death and fire from unknown quarters. Said legislation passes without so much as leaving a wake in its path, nothing explodes, and everyone goes on with their lives in the belief that they just narrowly dodged a bullet. At the conclusion of the process, the foundations of American freedom have been redacted, edited, clipped and round-filed.

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