WASHINGTON, January 21, 2014 — “What we have here, is a failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”
If ever there were a movie quote to sum up how President Obama and the peoples representatives in Congress addressed the blatantly unconstitutional manner in which the NSA collects and stores data on American citizens, it is the above quote from “Cool Hand Luke.”
After Edward Snowden revealed that Big Brother not only exists in the United States, but that he is living in our basement and watching our cable, the government started running around like cockroaches after the light was turned on.
Your texts messages, emails, phone calls, your credit card transactions, all of it is being monitored by the NSA in an effort to catch terrorists. The state is sifting through your personal information like some kind of overcalled, bucktooth 1880’s prospector hoping to find that bit of counterintelligence gold. All at the low, low price of billions of dollars in data center construction, and your Fourth Amendment rights.
We have come full circle. When the Patriot Act was announced, the Democrats in Congress and their Liberal constituents railed against this gross and blatant violation of privacy at the hands of the government. Many Conservatives stood by and said, well if you don’t have anything to hide, then you should have nothing to worry about.
Now when the Democrats are in power, and these new stories of government intrusion into our everyday lives has been uncovered, Liberals and Progressives laud this violation of privacy as a necessary evil. They see this domestic snooping as the greater good.
And of course Republicans and Conservatives rail against this violation of our basic civil liberties and vow to end these intrusive programs.
It is all a dance, and nothing gets done. No one in either parties Establishment Camp wants to see the collection of data go away, because there are always powers swings and so much data could prove useful.
While it is more than plausible that there are those on the far wings of each particular spectrum who so ardently support the dismantling of this leviathan domestic spying apparatus, those in control of the parties and the various branches of government do not seem to feel too compelled to act.
But of course some changes needed to be made, some things needed to be done in order to show the American people that the government is here to help, and to rock us to sleep and tell is everything is going to be ok.
These assurances came in the form of a speech given by President Obama in which he addressed the latest NSA spying scandal, as well as in the form of superficial promises by other politicians to do address the problem of this gross, and blatant violation of our Fourth Amendment rights.
In his speech, the President of the United States does his best to convince the people that we are under the constant threat of terrorism. That without these measures that the President and others have taken we would see bomb, after bomb, after bomb go off in our streets. Give us just a little bit more of your privacy rights, American People, and we can make you that much safer.
But this does not compute with the American sense of liberty, or at least what our original sense of liberty is supposed to be. We are giving up liberty for safety, an idea which Benjamin Franklin explicitly called out as a warning sign for tyranny. We will continue to cede fractions of our freedoms to the government, until we have nothing left to cede them at all, and they have everything.
“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” James Madison.
“The whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place.” Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Chair.
“Instead, we have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals and our Constitution require. We need to do so not only because it is right, but because the challenges posed by threats like terrorism and proliferation and cyber-attacks are not going away any time soon. They are going to continue to be a major problem.” President Barack Obama.
These quotes come from the same individuals who have for large parts of their careers done their best to try to strip or erode the rights of everyday American to adequately defend themselves. These words coming from Dianne Feinstein who seeks to make a licensing system for journalists. These words coming from a President who railed against the Patriot Act and its powers as a US Senator.
These words coming from people who seek to do nothing but garner more power for themselves at the expense of those who put them in office, as well as their enemies.
We have a great system on paper, however American complacency and coupled with government fear mongering have for some reason made the encroachment by our “leaders” upon our civil liberties somewhat tolerable.
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson.
The government’s message is clear; comply or the terrorists will win.
What will the people’s message be?