What to think?
I’ve had a very hard time over the last 4-5 days with this whole spying thing. I’m angry… damn angry… but what makes me angriest isn’t what you might expect.
For those that are angry at the phone taping and the data mining… don’t be angry at Obama… or at least don’t direct your anger solely at him. Multiple Senators and Congressmen have come out saying that the full Senate was briefed on these programs and various Congressional committees. If people like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz knew about this… these people who claim to be champions of civil rights and defenders of the Constitution… if they were briefed on this as the reports say… where the hell is their outrage? Not just today, but from the moment they learned about the programs? IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO SAY “IT’S CLASSIFIED”. If you believe at your core that something is unconstitutional, you betray everything you’ve ever said about that document, everything you’ve ever said about civil liberties by remaining silent. I want to go to jail about as much as the next guy… but this is far more important than getting the AG to say that the president doesn’t have the power to drone Joe Blow at Starbucks.
For those that aren’t angry at what the government is doing… I think I’m more angry at you. “Meh”… “Doesn’t bother me”…. “I’ve got nothing to hide”… The total lack of any depth of thought is breath taking. Let me give you a premise from which all of my political thoughts stem: Our government is not, has never been and will never be an altruistic entity the exists solely to serve the well being and best interests of The People. Our government was created as an adversarial system where various people try to get everything they want and in the process are forced to compromise and hopefully end up in the happy middle. The state we are in is not a happy middle. The federal government has stripped away any facade of transparency and service to The People and left The People with exactly zero privacy. We haven’t, apparently, just sacrificed just “a little bit” of freedom for a little bit of security, we’ve sacrificed just about all of our freedom for nearly no security. For those who aren’t angry, I understand why the Second Amendment might not matter to you, but the Fourth Amendment exists to protect the innocent far more than it does the guilty. Without it, the government can merely use suspicion as justification for arrest and search. Without it, rules of evidence fall away and the burden of proof falls to the innocent instead of the prosecution. But then… you’ve got “nothing to hide”.
A poem written by Martin Niemöller over a century ago:
First they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
If you won’t defend me today… there may be no one to defend you tomorrow. Rights aren’t things. They’re not a default existence. You don’t have a right because you say you do and you don’t have a right because I say you do. Rights are rights only as long as you are willing to defend them. My next question is a bit extreme, and I don’t mean to imply the situation is dire and the “guberment is comin’ for me”, I mean it as way to think about the future and what it COULD bring: What are you willing to die for? Will you cower in fear when all rights are gone or will you die for freedom defending your, your family’s and my right to a righteous existence free of suspicion and fear?