What if Memorial Day reminds us of times when we had more freedom? What if freedom is dying right under our eyes? What if the memory of the past is more fulfilling than the reality of the present?
What if the federal government could write any law, regulate any behavior and tax any event, no matter what the Constitution authorized? What if the majority in Congress rejects the idea of limited government and views the Constitution as granting it blanket power to do whatever it can get away with? What if the constitutional prohibition on the government's taking of life, liberty or property without due process of law is only for show and is not for real?
What if the House of Representatives seriously considered letting the military lock up whatever Americans the president ordered the troops to arrest, without charges filed or lawyers present or a judge presiding? What if the House seriously debated this idea of indefinite military detention of Americans in America and actually voted in favor of it? What if this unconstitutional monstrosity becomes the law and your right to due process depends on whether you remain with the majority, stay silent or behave properly? What if the Constitution's guarantees are not guarantees at all, but are subject to the whims of whoever is in power?
What if the Declaration of Independence, which articulated the moral authority for the revolution against Great Britain, recognized that our rights come from our Creator and are inalienable? What if very few in government recognize the divine origin of human freedom and its natural integrity to our humanity?
What if the government only permitted freedom so long as it was exercised as the government pleases? What if the government rejected the basic values of every person's right to life and liberty and property in favor of some collective good, where the government could arrest you without evidence, ration your freedom to suit the general welfare and take your property from you and sell it at a profit?
What if the government could hire thugs to keep you safe? What if it gave the thugs uniforms and badges and sent them to airports? What if it gave them rubber gloves to wear and told them they could touch you and your children and your parents however and wherever they wished? What if these thugs touched the private parts of little babies and old ladies and intentionally restrained those who have criticized them while the rest of us just watched and let this happen?
What if the airlines did a better job of keeping their customers happy and their property safe than the thugs did? What if the government spent millions of your tax dollars to advertise what a great job it's doing? What if the government charged the airlines millions of their dollars for the illusory services these thugs are rendering? What if the government's thugs never caught a single bad guy intent on harming a flight in America? What if the government's thugs actually let weapons and bad guys onto planes because the thugs are dopes who have no competition, who can't be sued and who won't be fired?
What if the government found more dopes and dupes and convinced them that they should conspire to commit acts of terrorism? What if the idea for terrorist acts and the means for committing them came from the government? What if no real threats were involved in these games and no real weapons were used, just fake threats and fake weapons, fomented and provided by the government? What if the government created these phony crimes just so that it could solve them? What if no one was ever in danger from these government-created crimes, except those the government tricked? What if the government did this again and again and then boasted that it was keeping us safe from its own creations? What if Congress and the media and even the courts fell for this?
What if, on Memorial Day, we remember times that were more free than today? What if, on Memorial Day, when we think of those who died for our freedom, we end up recognizing that the freedom they died for is dying? What if it becomes fashionable for the government to ignore the Constitution? What if the Constitution dies because the government stops following it? What if, next Memorial Day, freedom is just a memory?
What do we do about it?
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written six books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is "It Is Dangerous To Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom."