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Government Power

By massimopitt Oct 23, 2014 1730 Words
The United States government has too much power for its own good. They are in charge of too much. The individual members that comprise the government are generally shady figures with criminal records and personal agendas, though we expect them to lead fairly and impartially. The government has too much power, illustrated by the NSA scandal, the unconstitutional law-making, and the aggressive militarism. The NSA is invading the privacy of the nation, the legislative branch is creating laws that violate the rights of Americans, and the violent military force that the government is always so eager to use is coming more and more often. If there isn’t a shift in authority soon, possibly back to the states, as was originally intended, then nobody can be sure what the future might hold. The most powerful nation in the world might fall to its knees because of incompetence in its government. Or we could inch closer and closer to becoming a communist nation, where citizens’ lives are strictly directed by the all-powerful government. The scandal involving the NSA illegally monitoring citizens is a fitting example of how the government has too much power. They were able to use their power of influence to bend the rules around the crimes they were committing. Because nobody could do anything about it, the government could do basically whatever they wanted to.

The NSA was established in the year 1952 by President Truman for the purpose of monitoring inward communications, detecting terrorism, and aiding the military. Then, in 1973, the supreme court ruled that it was completely unconstitutional to listen and record citizens’ communications. They decided that a warrant was necessary for any bugging of communications or surveillance. In 1975, it was uncovered that the NSA was still watching the people, even with the new laws restricting it. Because there is no body to enforce laws on the government, as they are the highest power, Congress suggested “reforms”. The NSA “entertained” the reforms, meaning they considered the suggestions and decided they would resume surveillance as usual, excluding some new protocols to make the spying less noticeable. In 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was ordered into law, protecting Americans from domestic spying, outlawing any and all NSA operations at the time. The NSA went along with the laws for almost 25 years, until a turning point in our nation’s history.

September 11th, 2001. The day that will ever live in infamy. The first terrorist attack on American soil. Four planes, hijacked by the terrorists, were used to target several integral areas of the nation. The first cite targeted was New York, New York. Two planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, causing them to collapse, killing hundreds of innocent civilians inside. The third plane hijacked was used to put a large hole in the side of the Pentagon. The Pentagon is a government building, shaped like a pentagon, that houses our nation’s defense organization. Luckily, the plane struck an area of the building that was being renovated, so nobody important was hurt. The last plane was believed to have been on its way to the Capitol building in Washington D.C. but there is no way of knowing for sure. After this huge breach in national security, the NSA want back to work, double-time. The President signed an agreement with NSA so secret that some of the Presidents top Cabinet Members had no idea about it. The order authorized the search or monitor of any personal information or communication for the purpose of national security. The NSA interpreted it as an act that allowed them to read phone or electronic messages without a warrant from a judge. The NSA could validate any illegal spying by writing it off as an “investigation of a potential terrorist or terrorist organization,” violating constitutional rights as they see fit. What was really happening was they were using their power and resources to record and track everybody in the United States. They put them into systems and programs, like a catalogue, collecting everybody’s information. More and more companies were sending the NSA metadata in compliance with their demands. Since then, they have collected an unmeasurable amount of information. The citizens were almost completely oblivious until Edward Snowden released tons of classified information to the public in regards to the NSA spying situation. After that there was a lot of upheaval about the collection of data and whether or not it can be considered constitutional. The right to privacy is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, though some profess that it is part of ones unenumerated rights, given with the 9th amendment. Even if it was not, FISA would prevent any domestic spying. But because the government is unopposed, there is no power capable of telling the agency that it is breaking the law.

Another reason illustrating that the government has too much power is the fact that Congress has somehow gained the authority to create unconstitutional laws without their Constitutionality coming into question. The ninth amendment in the Bill of Rights grants citizens of these United States “unenumerated” rights. The framers of the Constitution did not see rights as privileges given to men by the government. Rather, rights were innate ideals that every man is entitled to from birth, regardless of circumstances. That being said, the Bill of Rights was not created to give rights. It was created to preserve the rights that people already had, and to protect them from being violated by unconstitutional laws. But there is no process in place to check the Constitutionality of laws that are passed. They are simply proposed, voted on, approved, and put into effect. At no point does anybody stop to really think about the new law and how it could be affected by the Constitution (i.e. whether it violates an amendment or not). Because of this, the government is contradicting itself. It is based around the Supremacy clause, meaning the Constitution is the highest power. But then the government makes decisions without consulting or even thinking about the Constitution. It’s a redundancy. But still, the government has the power to create laws that violate the rights of its citizens.

A great example of a law that violated the Constitution was prohibition. There were no expressed laws in the Constitution that give the federal government the power to ban alcohol, so they had to create an amendment. But since the tenth amendment states that any item not expressly reserved for federal government is to be given to States to handle. That means that it was, in fact, unconstitutional to create the 18th amendment. The issue of banning alcohol should have been delegated to the state, as that is the highest authority that would actually be able to have a say in the issue. Much like the prohibition issue, in the recent past, government has passed many laws criminalizing drugs. Since the same logic holds true from the prohibition idea, it’s a violation of the ninth amendment to outlaw these substances.

Another direct violation of Constitutional rights is the passing of the National Firearms Act(NFA) and the ban on “assault weapons” Essentially, the NFA increased the price of guns, and the ban is a complete block of manufacturing or trade of weapons they see as scary or threatening. It is allegedly to help reduce the threat of gang violence, but it is a direct and blatant violation of the second amendment, the right to bear arms.

The final reason that the United States government has too much power is the broad and blatant militarism. In the past 100 years, the US has been involved in over 20 different wars. Why is the nation so willing to blow up other nations? There are certainly no nations in Europe that have been in as many wars as the United States, even though the US is much younger than most of them. Our military is regarded as one of the most powerful and technology-forward in the world. But the military is not used conventionally, for self defense or the like. The government uses the military in acts of aggression, attacking “hostile” areas because they have different views or ideals. The US is obsessed with striving for a world where everybody agrees with their authority and is exactly the same. It’s comparable to the Crusades the way we think that spreading our “democracy” will solve everyone's problems. The problem is that the President has the power to attack or invade anything without any consent at all. he can essentially declare war on any nation at all. The UN is supposed to be able to step in, but with a lack of general armed forces means that nations that are part of the UN have to volunteer to fight. But the US military is so powerful that not many would be willing to stand up and fight against the super power.

In the past, the US government has committed terrible crimes against humanity. The most prominent example would be the atomic bombs dropped to end WWII with Japan. The bomb, named big boy, was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th, 1945. Then, on August 9th, 1945, the US dropped another bomb, fat man, on Nagasaki, Japan. In total, the casualty count for both bombings is confirmed at over 150,000. That’s an immense amount of women and children who were massacred for no reason. The cities that were bombed were both civilian cities with no military ties. America killed so many innocent people, it’s a travesty. Because of a conflict of opinion, 150,000 people lost their lives before their time. There are countless other times when America put its personal interest before the value of the lives of foreign civilians. The government of the United States of America has too much power because of the legislative branch’s incompetence to create constitutional laws, the NSA and its ability to operate beyond the rules that should bind it, and the military, which uses deadly force whenever it sees fit, without considering the mortal or financial cost. A complete reform of government would be the best course of action at this point. It’s only fitting that the government take in to account the Constitution when forming a government this time around. It would probably help to prevent a downfall of epic proportions.

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