One thing you should know about me is I have always hated bullies. Always.
I was a pretty shy, quiet, and scrawny child—but that didn’t stop me. One time, I was on a train ride. It was a field trip with our homeschool group and we were instructed to bring our lunches for it. My family was pretty poor at the time, and given that we did not actually attend a school or have a regular need for one, the only lunch boxes my little brother and I had were from our early childhood. Mine was The Little Mermaid themed and his was Barney, which we were both a little old for by then.
While happily eating my lunch and staring at the trees speeding by my window on the train, I all of a sudden heard some older boys behind me making fun of my brother for his lunchbox. And I saw red. I whirled around in my seat to peer over at them and quickly took them down a notch, disparaging their appearances, their clothing, and their masculinity. “What kind of a weird 10-year-old feels the need to bully a child?” What can I say, I have a gift for knowing exactly where to hit them.
That’s one of many instances I can recall from my childhood of me rushing in to bully the bully on behalf of whoever they’d marked as their target. I just can’t stand the sight of injustice.
With that in mind, my chosen profession makes a great deal of sense. There is no bigger bully than the government.
On a good day, the government steals from us, wastes our talent and our finances, and makes life harder than it should be through regulations, central planning, and mismanagement. But on most days, it bullies innocent people, shakes them down for money, robs them of their possessions, kidnaps their children, splits up their families, imprisons them, tortures them, and even kills them.
I have dedicated my life to breaking the systems of this oppressor before it is too late—and we’re getting close. Why? Because civil liberties have few consistent defenders.
As the 18th-century American philosopher Thomas Paine once wrote, “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” Basically, if you don’t stand up to the bully when he comes for someone weaker or smaller than you, you will eventually become the target too.
The mainstream media and the two-party system have proven woefully inept at this task. Too many journalists and establishment politicians meticulously guard against overreach that impacts them and theirs alone, while looking the other way or even cheering when those who hold different political views have their rights violated. It is abhorrent.
We need consistent champions of civil liberties now more than ever, because it’s hard to find one of our rights that is not currently under siege. For one thing, free speech is fighting for its life as both establishment Democrats and Republicans seek to use the government to curtail the speech of their political enemies.
Meanwhile, the 4th Amendment’s protections against unlawful searches are so far back in the rearview mirror we can barely see them anymore. Our government spies on us with impunity and nothing is done about it. Moreover, they use the data they collect to persecute and incarcerate people wrongfully. They chase brave whistleblowers like Edward Snowden out of the country while sending a clear message to any others who might dare to stand up to them.
Then there’s our criminal “justice” system, which makes a mockery of fundamental principles like due process and the right to a jury trial. Thousands are wrongfully imprisoned, and millions more are behind bars for things like drug possession, which shouldn’t be a crime at all.
What’s more, we allow our police to steal billions in property from Americans under “civil asset forfeiture” without even having to prove a person’s guilt. And victimized Americans rarely get legal accountability for officers who wrongfully beat, abuse, or kill them, in part thanks to qualified immunity’s sweeping civil liability protections.
Don’t get me started on the Second Amendment. Our right to self-defense is up against millions of dollars and strategic organizations who are working consistently to chip away at it in the courts and in legislatures.
And our bodies. Good lord, do we even possess those anymore? Between the War on Drugs and the War on Covid, it seems we’re left with only weekend custody of our bodies, if that.
These are just the things our government does to US citizens. But human rights apply to everyone, no matter what imaginary line they were born within. And when it comes to our government’s crimes outside our borders, the offenses are even worse.
Our government savages other countries, steals their resources, ruins their economies, and creates terrorists. It destabilizes whole regions. It tortures people in camps like Guantánamo Bay, while women are raped and children are sold into slavery because of our foreign policy recklessness. We put people in camps for merely trying to work when they cross our borders. We persecute journalists, like Julian Assange, when they reveal our military’s crimes against humanity.
If you did not know all of these things were occurring, you’ll be forgiven. The media rarely covers them or gives them the attention they deserve—much less a non-partisan defense.
For example, right-wing media outlets were up in arms when it came to light that the Obama administration attempted to use the government to spy on Trump during his campaign. Suddenly it was their guy in the crosshairs. Yet many of these same Republicans supported the unconstitutional infrastructure that enabled this type of spying in the first place. And Democrats acted equally hypocritical during this time, silently looking the other way as their predictions about the dangers of the Patriot Act came to fruition against their political enemy.
This media inconsistency changes here and now. At BASEDPolitics, we will defend civil liberties louder than the crack in the bell. We will do it consistently, even and especially when it involves people who hold views we do not like. We will speak truth to power and stand on the side of the individual no matter who it upsets.
Billy Graham once said, “When a strong man takes a stand the spines of others are stiffened.”
We will be taking an unflinching stand on civil liberties here at BASEDPolitics. Stand with us.