Majority opinion, backed by the strong arm of government, relegated her to second-class citizenship. In that day, who imagined it would ever change?
Parks was riding the Cleveland Avenue bus home from work in Montgomery, Alabama on Dec. 1, 1955, when the white only seats in the front filled with passengers. Bus driver James Blake moved the “colored” section sign behind the row Parks was sitting in and demanded that she move to seats in the rear of the bus to accommodate the white riders.
She said, “No.”
“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in,” she wrote in her autobiography.
Parks’ actions that day sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and ignited the civil rights movement. Ultimately, Jim Crow died because one woman grew tired of giving in and had the guts to say, “No.”
Today, we also face a seemingly hopeless situation with our own government relentlessly spying on us.
Prior to the Revolution, the British claimed the authority to issue Writs of Assistance allowing officials to enter private homes and businesses to search for evidence of smuggling. These general warrants never expired and were considered a valid substitute for specific search warrants.
With British tyranny fresh on their minds, many state ratifiers insisted on a Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, and among those fundamental rights, the founders included a provision protecting the people from the arbitrary search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Note the Fourth Amendment includes NO exceptions. Not for catching “terrorists.” Not for super secret intelligence agencies. Not to keep us safe.
The unconstitutional seizure of phone records, Internet data, emails and other personal information by the feds represents only the tip of the iceberg. As more information about federal spying comes out, many Americans grow more and more alarmed. But how do we stop a massive, powerful, secretive government organization like the NSA?
We could wait on Congress. But that bunch has had plenty of chances to shut it down. Our representatives and senators keep rubber stamping it. We could rely on the courts. But when was the last time those black-robed federal employees did anything to limit federal power? They rubber stamp it too. Maybe the president will save the day. But the commission Obama formed to review NSA surveillance was packed with government insiders.
More rubber stamps.