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Dishonoring the sacrifices of the fallen

| Saturday, May 23, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

The Internal Revenue Service illegally targeted nonprofit conservative groups, those seeking legal tax-exempt status to engage in political speech, for special scrutiny. Not only did the IRS harass these groups, it infringed on their First Amendment rights.

Is this for what our brave troops gave their lives in defense of liberty?

Police the nation over can, under the rubric of sobriety checkpoints, force citizens to stop their cars and submit themselves to government scrutiny. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed this police right over the clear constitutional rights of the people. The goal might be altruistic but whatever happened to probable cause?

Is this for what our brave troops paid the ultimate price?

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., one of only six federal judges in our republic's history to be impeached and removed from office, complains that his annual congressional salary of $174,000 is not enough to live on in Washington, D.C. The average district resident makes $60,000 per year.

Is this for what so many courageous American troops spilled their blood?

Dominique Sharpton, the daughter of race-baiter Al Sharpton, has filed a personal injury lawsuit against New York City for an October fall in which she claims to have “severely injured, bruised and wounded” her ankle. She stumbled over pavement. A lawsuit seeking $5 million claims “permanent physical pain.” Ms. Sharpton recently posted an Instagram photo of herself after having just scaled a mountain in Bali.

Is this for what so many of America's brave sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers died?

In the Not-So-Great Socialist State of Wisconsin, two rounds of so-called John Doe investigations have led to armed police storming houses in the middle of the night, the illegal seizure of property and threats to remain silent or else — and all in the name of enforcing campaign finance laws. And a “law” allows for the operation of what only can be described as a police state?

Is this for what more than 1 million of our brave troops have died since the Revolutionary War? Is this for what millions more have been maimed?

As The Associated Press reported last month, “The Baltimore Police Department has an agreement with the U.S. government to withhold certain information about secretive cellphone surveillance technology from the public and even the courts.” This has led to a climate in which “police believe that they can withhold evidence in criminal trials or ignore subpoenas in which the devices are used,” the AP says.

Is this the kind of behavior for which our valiant soldiers gave their last full measure?

America in 2015 is a shell of its former self, in words and in deeds.

Dependence is sanctioned by the government while independence is penalized.

Rugged individualism is a vice while “the collective” is a virtue.

Corrupt politicians engage more in self-service than in public service.

Gaming the system is given the nod-nod, wink-wink.

The growing and liberty-stripping police state is defended as being necessary to our security.

The sheeple that too many of us have become bleat in ignorant compliance.

And with every liberty-defying act, and with every freedom-relinquishing bleat, we dishonor each and every soldier whom we profess to revere on Memorial Day.

We must do better. For we are better than this.

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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