Endangered rights | AspenTimes.com

Endangered rights

Dear Editor:

I was at Zuccotti Park, aka Liberty Plaza Park, before and the morning after the tiny camp of tightly packed tents was brutally, illegally crushed. They came with overwhelming force. In the dead of night the Holland Tunnel was barricaded, the subway silenced, the media held at bay as the police state demonstrated that resistance will not be tolerated.

Hordes of black-clad mercenaries armed with helicopters, guns, batons and pepper spray arrayed against a ragtag assembly of nonviolent protesters. A valiant band whose impact far exceeds the small number of patriots who endured much and risked more to bring truth to power.

I was there because we vote for peace yet wage never-ending war, because we invaded Iraq based on propaganda of weapons of mass destruction and are now, once again, marching toward Iran based on propaganda of weapons of mass destruction, because our drones kill innocent people for corporate profit, because torture has morphed into enhanced interrogation, because a hero spent months in solitary confinement for exposing the truth, because a corporation of private banks controls our money supply in secret, sending trillions to banks that broke laws, gambled and lost while pennies trickle to the 99 percent who suffer from their avarice.

Meanwhile, corporations buy our government and write our laws, the rich and powerful twist the American dream into a nightmare, and the secretary of defense on 911 stated, on record, that he had never even heard of Building 7, the third massive skyscraper that fell, a stone’s throw from Liberty Square.

I was there because the National Defense Authorization Act, currently in Congress, defines our homeland as part of the battlefield of the war against terror; where an American citizen can be secretly labeled a terrorist, imprisoned without charge and detained indefinitely without trial.

I was there because the First Amendment to our Constitution states that Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. For years citizens asked, pleaded and then respectfully petitioned our government to simply show us the law that required a citizen to file an income tax return. Never a reply. Instead, the government, in federal court, claimed it had no obligation to respond.

We then appealed to the Supreme Court, which, without comment, did not consider the lawsuit even though it was a landmark case that would have required the court to declare, for the first time in our history, what the petition clause of the First Amendment to our Constitution requires government to do.

The federal government has broken and ignored countless laws, including our First Amendment right to petition. Unable to petition for redress of grievances, our only recourse now seems to be to assemble, to peacefully occupy, in an attempt to bring awareness that freedom is hanging by a thread to as many citizens as possible.

Will Kesler

Snowmass Village