The recent NSA revelations of widespread surveillance on American citizens should be cause for intense protest. Surely it will be, as a day of nationwide mass action to restore the Fourth Amendment has been planned for the fourth of July. But any awake American can see that PRISM is only one sock on a long line of dirty laundry. The list of U.S. government abuses and failures to protect stretches far and wide, an alphabet soup of depravity: PRISM, NDAA, CISPA, SOPA, Patriot Act, the Monsanto Protection Act, drones, secret kill lists, Guantanamo Bay, DNA tests, Abu Ghraib, Afghan Massacre, Keystone, Tar Sands, Hanford. I'm certain you'll think of more.
While PRISM and the rest of the gang are individually sordid, when combined they are the track marks of a far more pervasive, widespread, life-wasting problem. One that has systematically attacked not just the Fourth Amendment, but also the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and 10th. No matter how hard we advocate for the Fourth Amendment now, others will fall so long as this substance burns through the veins of the Republic.
This is your government on war.
An unnatural, synthesized invention, war courses through Congress, city halls and the Oval Office. Paranoia, fear, consumption, degradation, enslavement, betrayal and suffering - these are the family values of a nation on war.
Our government’s addiction consumes the domestic budget, leaving little for health, education or infrastructure. It invades privacy and creates enemies through paranoia and fear, painting its opposition as savage, barbaric, shady, and justifying oppression, enslavement, torture and murder. It desecrates the natural world, poisoning the veins of the Earth and its abundance, waging chemical warfare and extracting the resources to do so.
This addiction isolates and alienates us from the global community, our physical and spiritual connections with the human family severed by consistent betrayal and erratic abuse. This addiction gives illegitimate power and authority to the highest bidder; toxic dealers of the military-industrial complex operate within an untraceable, uncontrollable, private Silk Road.
Looking for a fix, the U.S. government betrays us for its own benefit and that of its corporate dealers. It transforms the Edward Snowdens, Bradley Mannings and Julian Assanges into puny snitches, faced with demands for assassination, and charged with illuminating our government’s addiction and challenging pervasive denial.
We need an intervention, an American Awakening, to end the inevitable suffering of the American people – indeed, the global village – at the whims of mega users. Want to protect the Fourth Amendment? Want to protect them all? Call for a 28th Amendment - an amendment to abolish the slavery of addiction, an amendment to abolish war.
Amendment XXVIII of the Constitution of the United States of America
Section 1. The American people, in accordance with the promotion of international justice, peace, human rights and dignity, hereby renounce the use of organized, armed force to resolve intra- and inter-state conflict; neither war nor war-making processes shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
We can file as many class-action lawsuits as we’d like. We can repeal Citizens United, fight the NDAA, demolish Gitmo, and we should. But these sores will be replaced with new ones so long as the syringe of the military-industrial complex remains intact and full.
Section 2. Congress shall neither make nor approve war, nor approve of the use of military force, as a means for resolving intra- and inter-state conflict.
Just as we abolished slavery, another fundamentally immoral manmade institution, we can abolish the fundamentally immoral manmade institution of war, and all the harms associated thereof.
Section 3. The United States shall neither make nor keep locations of detention for prisoners of war, and all prisoners, upon recognition, shall be released to their respective home nations or non-military, judicial courts.
On the fourth of July, our day of independence, stand up for the Fourth Amendment, but also stand up for the rest, because last week it was the Sixth, and tomorrow it’ll be the Fifth, so long as war is our drug of choice. No constitutional right is safe from the manipulative behavior of a government in denial. We must demand a 28th Amendment - one amendment to secure them all – and declare our independence from the tyranny of addiction, from the enslavement of war.
Erin Niemela is a Master’s Candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University and a PeaceVoice syndicated journalist.