On September 11, 2001, everything changed.
As we look back over the eighteen years that have passed since the horrific terrorist attacks, there’s simply no denying it.
Things that were practically unthinkable before have become our new reality.
Unconstitutional domestic spying schemes. Secret “terrorist” watch lists. Endless foreign wars. TSA grope-downs and naked body scanners. Security screenings just to watch a baseball game with your kids. The militarization of local law enforcement. The growing realization that members of Congress from BOTH parties want to watch our every move.
Now, our national media is constantly trying to redefine the definition of a so-called “domestic terrorist” to include virtually anyone to the right of Elizabeth Warren.
Under the last president, even supporters of my 2008 presidential campaign were flagged as potential “threats” by a Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center as they fretted about the rise of “right-wing extremism.”
Intelligence agencies were turned inward to examine the American people. And 15 years later, they were used to carry out an espionage campaign against the opposition party’s presidential candidate and staff, just as I warned would ultimately be the case.
The Deep State has grown so large and unwieldly, these Washington, D.C. “Swamp Creatures” have spent the last two years trying to oust America’s duly elected president simply because he wasn’t their pick.
Now there’s even talk of allowing Silicon Valley to decide who gets a gun and who doesn’t. After all, they work hand in hand with government to catalogue our every move. So can’t they keep us safe?
The truth is, freedom is under siege like never before.
Does this sound like the republic our Founding Fathers intended for us to live in?
I know it doesn’t to me.
And I know many patriotic Americans out there feel the same way.
In 2016, the American people rejected the political establishment of both parties – embodied in Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton – and began to shake up the status quo that was established after 9/11.
Through our work at Campaign for Liberty, we’ve seen a number of other small victories that suggest America may be finally ready to rein in the Deep State lawmakers so naïvely surrendered our liberties to all those years ago.
Take for instance the secret “terrorist” watch list I mentioned earlier. The Department of Homeland Security argued since the list’s creation that it never had to tell you if you’re on the list – or provide any reason for your inclusion.
Increasingly, a number of Americans who believed they were on the watch list found themselves subjected to harassment and extreme searches of their persons – including strip searches – and property at the U.S. Border or when flying on airplanes, before being allowed to continue on their way.
But just days ago, a federal circuit court ruled the government was violating Americans’ constitutional right to due process and must allow people to challenge the evidence that put them on the watch list to start with.
This small victory is a step in the right direction, but I believe it’s a sign of things to come.
When Edward Snowden first revealed the extent of the NSA’s domestic spying, Americans were shocked and outraged. But lawmakers lacked the political will to do anything about it, fearful that another attack may occur and their vote to rein in the surveillance state would be seen as the reason.
Now, many Americans are realizing the dangers of handing unbridled surveillance authority to the government – including how it can be used to deny our other constitutional rights like the right to keep and bear arms!
And again, things appear to be changing. While the so-called USA Freedom Act is set to expire this year, lawmakers don’t appear to have the political appetite to ram through the administrations’ preferred permanent extension of the spying powers.
Instead, a short-term or one-year extension will likely be combined with a government spending bill setting up a fight ahead of the critical 2020 elections.
This would provide a great opportunity for those of us seeking to rein in the unconstitutional domestic spying operations authorized first by the so-called “PATRIOT” Act in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
It’s something that Campaign for Liberty will continue to monitor closely in the weeks and months to come and keep all of our members informed on.
Additionally, the influence of neoconservatives on the Republican Party also appears to be waning, as President Trump announced he was firing John Bolton as National Security Advisor.
Bolton should’ve never been there in the first place, given that President Trump was elected criticizing America’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and his departure is a welcome sign that America’s foreign policy could be at a turning point.
The truth is, re-envisioning America’s foreign policy is long overdue.
Neoconservatives consolidated their grip on the Republican Party in the wake of September 11 and harnessed the fear Americans felt to march us straight into a quagmire in Iraq.
The war in Iraq was one of the most ill-considered, poorly planned, and just plain unnecessary military conflicts in American history. And I opposed it from the beginning.
And it’s cost our nation dearly in blood and treasure, resulting in the deaths of nearly 4,500 young service men and women and maimed 32,000 veterans.
Likewise, nearly eighteen years since the war in Afghanistan began, over 2,400 have died and another 20,000 wounded.
In March, 2011, I argued on the House floor:
“The question we are facing today is, should we leave Afghanistan? I think the answer is very clear, and it's not complicated. Of course we should, as soon as we can. . .
“Some argue we have to be there because if we leave under these circumstances we'll lose face; it will look embarrassing to leave. So how many more men and women have to die, how many more dollars have to be spent to save face? That is one of the worst arguments possible.”
If I were advising President Trump today, I’d tell him the same thing.
While it’s too soon to tell whether Bolton’s firing alone will shift America’s foreign policy, many Americans are clamoring for the more restrained, America First foreign policy the president campaigned on in 2016.
As you can see, there’s no denying 9/11 changed everything.
The question is, will American patriots like you stand up and fight to change things back?
Not just to the way they were on September 10, 2001 – but to the way things were when America’s Constitution was followed.
Will you fight to reclaim our republic and restore the Constitution?
Are you ready to defend your remaining liberties from those who would seek to use future tragedies to take them away?
Before I founded Campaign for Liberty, I lamented on the House floor:
"The erosion of our personal liberties started long before 9/11, but 9/11 accelerated the process.
"Respect for liberty has rapidly deteriorated. Many of the new laws passed after 9/11 had, in fact, been proposed long before that attack. The political atmosphere after that attack simply made it more possible to pass such legislation. The fear generated by 9/11 became an opportunity for those seeking to promote the power of the state. . ."
Today, thanks to Campaign for Liberty’s dedicated members and supporters, I see patriots who are fighting back against the welfare-warfare state every day – and winning.
These are true patriots who challenge the state when it tries to enhance its power at the expense of individual Americans.
They truly understand the magnificent rewards of a free society and are unbashful in its promotion.
It’s patriots like them – and like you – who give me hope for America. And I hope no matter how dark things may get, you’ll keep fighting for a brighter tomorrow with Campaign for Liberty.