NSA, Liberties and Our Government

I’m a huge advocate for protecting the privacy and intellectual property of US citizens, and adhering to the constitutional rights and freedoms set out for us by our founding fathers.  It’s what I learned about in school. How wonderful, just, and fair our system is…How liberating our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are…How “all men are created equal”…How there is beauty in our freedoms, privacy and democracy…

And then you get to the last years of high school and the poo hits the fan.

You know, that kid inside of me that discovered her love of history in Mrs. Vollman’s class, and government in Mrs. Walter’s…Yeah, that kid, she’s dead. Thanks to everyone running our country for taking all that was good, idealistic, and utopian about my thoughts of world peace and a just government…and crushing it.  I am Holden Caufield and you, leaders of this great nation, are the crazy carousel of life that has destroyed my innocence.

Honestly, I can’t stand how our government is run. It’s all politics! I’m sick of Fox News and MSNBC.  I’m sick of left-wing extremists, and tea-party nuts.  Parties fighting over who’s right…fighting over election votes…fighting to stay in office or keep their seat…fighting for power or money. Makes me sick…

This country would be a far better place if everyone was more middle of the road. If we stopped arguing, and started compromising. If everyone quit trying to promote their own agenda and prove themselves right, and started doing something for the good of their fellow, common man.

How about doing something for the people of this country? You know, the citizens! What is a governing body, without people to govern?

How about following the laws and Constitution that were painstakingly created to fairly solve problems, with the ability to be amended and changed? How about remembering to use the checks and balances system of our executive, legislative and judicial branches?

All my frustration just seems to have worsened since the recent discovery of our government’s deep involvement in gathering US citizens’ private information.  Home and cell phone records, emails, Google searches, Amazon purchases, website history…everything.

Some people keep trying to trivialize the situation.  ”The government says that collecting it all is easier and they are only looking at people suspected of illicit activities, or possible terrorists.” “Oh, what does it matter if the government knows that I Google searched for my favorite band, or that I bought a couple books off of Amazon.”

Well, I care…and I think it matters. Just because the government does it, doesn’t make it right.  Personally, I think the government having access to my information is strange.

Part of me thinks, so what? So the government knows I love theatre, cooking and recipes, that I keep a blog on Tumblr, and recently bought a three-dollar pair of sunglasses online.

But, it still gives off that, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"-vibe that just gives me the willies. I mean, sure, today it’s “we have it but we are only looking into suspicious, terrorist threats”…but, what about a few years from now.  What if someone does something perfectly legal, but the government just doesn’t like it or it’s embarrassing…like someone organizing a protest with friends online (like Occupy) or sharing information (akin to Wikileaks/Watergate)? What’s to say the government won’t decide to bend its powers to spy? Where does it stop? 

All I can think of is Fiddler on the Roof, “One little time I pull out a thread, And where has it lead? Where has it lead? Oh, where has it lead?”

What upsets me even more is the fact that the NSA and government have gotten away with this violation of privacy. How have they been doing this for so many years? How did Congress approve such practices without being shot down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional?

And how is Edward Snowden being accused of treason?! What is right or just about that? Treason is defined as, “The betrayal of one’s own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies.” Snowden gave information to the American people about what our own government was doing to us.  Information that we have every right to know considering it violates our privacy, and considering the government should be asking our permission to obtain it in the first place (Fourth Amendment- Search and Seizure…look it up).

Treason means you gave information to the enemies or helped them to harm our nation. But, he didn’t give it to others, he shared his knowledge with the American people. If he committed “treason” by giving the citizens information, then does that make everyone in the US “enemies” of our own government by the very constitutional definition of treason? 

I’ve just become disheartened and disappointed by the “supposed” leaders of our own country passing laws, programs and acts that restrict the freedoms that made our country great.

The Patriot Act…SOPA…CISPA…now the NSA spying…

Our government and country need to straighten out their priorities, respect established freedoms, and do what’s RIGHT by everyone. Because, right now, everything seems unstable and messed up.

So, keep your wits about you, everybody.

And remember…

“Big Brother Is Watching You.”