So we are in this meeting, and I say to my co-workers “You know the government has recorded all of your phone calls and e-mails for several years now.”
Co-worker 1: They are recording our business calls?
Me: No, they were recording ALL calls, yours, and yours, and yours (pointing to various coworkers). And recording all of your e-mails too.
Co-worker 2: Why would they do that?
Me: I presume this has been under the guise of stopping terrorism.
(You know what is coming next, don’t you??)
Co-worker 3: I don’t care, I have nothing to hide.
Co-worker 4: If it makes us safer, it is worth it.
Eleven people were in the room with me, and not one felt it was problematic that the government has been recording all of our phone calls and e-mails.
People in the Bush administration used this power to spy on journalists. Not foreign journalists, American journalists. Local calls, not even the dangerous ‘overseas’ calls. Nixon revisited! But no one cares.
How much of this attitude can we attribute to natural stupidity, and how much credit does the Bush administration get for years of intentionally scaring the crap out of us? I can’t tell. I never want to downplay the level of natural stupidity.
Stupid is a pretty harsh word. I could be kind, and call this ignorance or naiveté, but I am too old. A lifetime of observation tells me there is no ‘learning curve’ to indicate our society is getting smarter regarding civic issues. So, “stupid” it is.
We can stroll along clueless and hope all works out for the best.
All societies go through good and bad times. Sometimes very bad (sort of like now). If we elected a charismatic who also happens to be a megalomaniac, this type of leader (think Putin) will insist on suspending our civil liberties. Like always, it will be to “protect” us from some evil. And we will follow like sheep. We need our great leader to protect us!
He will need to suspend congressional powers because Congress moves too slow (and asks too many questions). We need action now!
Listen people, it starts with listening to our phone calls, which is BAD enough, and leads to monitoring everything we do. Why would it stop at the phone? Why wouldn’t the government reach in to our bedroom activities? What is stopping them now?
Then they suspend habeas corpus, meaning people can be imprisoned without cause. Why do you think this wouldn’t happen? It is happening now. Or don’t ‘foreigners’ count?
Some people will dare to stand up to that megalomaniac President and say “what you are doing is unconstitutional”.
These people will be called traitors, terrorist-lovers and un-American. Does any of this sound familiar?