The republic becomes an empire when power is centralized and the concerns of the people are subordinate to the whims of an emperor or oligarchical ruling class.
Look at all that has been done in the name of "national security."
Look at the supposed health care "reform."
Everywhere, it's the same thing. You and your rights become smaller and ever less significant a player.
How's your goose step, folks? Because you'll need it unless you awake from your slumber, discard your soma, see the slogans for the propaganda that they are, and the demagogues for the tyrants they are. It is time to act!
A peaceful revolution at the ballot boxes would be my ideal scenario. However, civil disobedience ala Thoreau (think "counter-friction") isn't beyond my inclinations.
I cannot envision a scenario when a violent revolt will result in anything good. It may come to that, simply because we cannot accomplish any other option and cannot stand to remain idle. If it does, however, then I bow my head in regret.