IQ: Eroding Freedoms 

We have much to be thankful for in this country on this Independence Day. But like our early patriots -- luminaries like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson -- we are living in an age of eroding freedoms.

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Kirsten Allison
Administrative assistant

What do Americans have to be most thankful for? Freedom to express our beliefs and follow our dreams.

What's the most outrageous commercial exploitation of red-white-and-blue you've seen recently? The flag motif has become so jingoistic. Just about any product you can throw away -- paper plates, paper towels, you name it -- has a flag on it these days.

Do you support the Patriot Act? I think a lot of it is reactionary. I see parallels between it and some of the McCarthyistic things we did in the Cold War, and I don't want to see us go down that road again.

How will you celebrate the Fourth of July? Probably go to Memorial Park.

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Tess Knight
Administrative assistant
Eastern Colorado Springs

What makes you most patriotic about America? My right as a woman to work when and where I want.

What most worries you about America? We've forgotten that we're a melting pot; that a lot of voices make up this country and that tolerance made us great.

How do you feel about the Patriot Act? Confused. For the first time, because of Sept. 11, we have to be leery about who's among us. But every American, no matter what his background or ethnic heritage, has constitutionally guaranteed rights. I'm seeing erosions of those rights.

How will you celebrate the Fourth? Probably with family or friends. And at some place that plays music.

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Nard Claar
Department of Corrections

What should we be proudest of in this country? Our freedom to say what we want, to support whom we want, and to move around the country.

What should we be most worried about in this country? The federal government is becoming so one-sided and single-focused in its preoccupation with terrorism that it's verging on corrupt, unethical and unjust.

How do you view the Patriot Act? As the kind of thing done by the Gestapo and by the KGB, also in the name of national security. That we didn't resort to such measures has always set us apart, but Ashcroft and his compatriots seem to appreciate the restrictiveness of other countries and want to use it here.

What's the most outrageous commercial exploitation of patriotism you've seen lately? Most of the super-patriot products being sold were made by underpaid foreigners for profit. Roadway curbs and ditches are littered with discarded American flags.

How will you celebrate the Fourth? Either take a hike or paint watercolors.


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