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leaks. In addition, Congress expanded the definition of "terrorist"- to anyone who
knows, or should know, that an organization they support (in any way) is involved
in terrorist activity - and made the property of those suspected subject to
The most powerful post-September 11
legislation was the "USA Patriot Act "
a sweeping revision of privacy laws relating to law enforcement investigation.
Under the Patriot Act , investigators could access the records of bookstores and
libraries, monitor communications between attorneys and their clients, restrict
access to government information and documents, and detain suspected terrorists
without cause, charge, or access to legal counsel.
Further complicating the protection of civil rights in the United States was the
myopic jingoism permeating America, creating an atmosphere of intolerance.
Peace activists and civil libertarians were branded as "un-American" and "crazy
communists." Displays of American flags in public places became an expectation.
One national talk show host referred to the American Civil Liberties Union as "the
American version of al-Qaida."
Many unpopular and dissenting opinions were
dismissed as "unpatriotic." Further, colleges and universities disciplined faculty
who made controversial comments deemed "unpatriotic" and several newspaper
editors lost their jobs for criticizing American policy. Throughout the country,
incidents of anti-Arab discrimination and profiling increased.
Musically, America was taking a decidedly patriotic tact. Songs usually reserved
for July 4
became daily regulars on many radio playlists - such as Lee Greenwood's
"God Bless the U.S.A.," Garth Brooks' "We Shall Be Free," John Wayne's story
song "America Why We Love Her," and Whitney Houston's rendition of "The
Star Spangled Banner." Some of these songs (including Aaron Tippin's "Where
the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly," and Greenwood's "God Bless America")
went on to be 2001 top selling singles with less than four months of sales.
To demonstrate that no level of popularity and public respect could insulate
commentators against the blowback of post-September 11
jingoism, former
President Jimmy Carter was widely criticized for remarking that President Bush's
focus on the three "Axis of Evil" nations was "overly simplistic and counter-
productive." Further, on September 17
, ABC 's Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher
and commentator Dinesh D'Souza were discussing the events of September 11
when Maher said that the actions of the attackers were "anything but cowardly."
The next day many advertisers, such as Sears, FedEx, and Quizno's Subs, pulled
their advertising from the program, which was cancelled by ABC shortly there-