Beware militarization of nation's institutions
TO THE EDITORS:
We must not continue to give up human rights and freedom for the sake of fear and a false sense of security.
The continual loss of freedom is an incremental and growing change in this country, with grave implications on a generation who are groomed to accept civil constraint, obedience and the loss of rights in speech because of the perception of "national security."
In the face of violence in our society, fear breeds despotism as an accepted way to govern.
The growth of militarism, abuse of power, unrestrained access to individual privacy, punitive laws, pre-emptive and secret drone military attacks with widespread innocent casualties, legal harassment of real journalists, false or assumed accusations and solitary confinement of Americans without a trial and the due process of law, along with the institutionalization of conformity in education with the growing consensus for militarizing schools, is cause for a public outcry.
It is a wake-up call for those of us who lived prior to the Patriot Act.
And those who value a government for the people and by the people should rise up now with clarity of vision and a mission to stop the loss of our freedoms.
When fear begins to rule the people and a nation, then those who have absolute power become the judges of who are foreigners and enemies of the state.
History warns us well -- in accepting militarization in all our institutions for the sake of perceived protection -- the enemy becomes you or me or anyone who dissents or disagrees.
Blind acceptance of political and social consensus of the presence of police in our schools will serve to feed public fear and legally undermine the foundations of individual rights and freedoms arguably making the Constitution an irrelevant document.
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Barley