Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Free Speech: Big Brother is Listening
In thinking about what to write about for this first installment of Worldly Wednesday, it occurred to me that there were so many choices available to me that I thought my brain might self-destruct. Then, in looking through recent posts from other blogs I follow, I stumbled across this video posted by Rob from Commonwealth Commentary. This blog is worth checking out as he features interesting political stories.
Anyway, watch the video and ask yourslef "Is Homeland Security already watching me?"
If Homeland Security wasn't already watching me, they probably are now that I've posted this. I'm guessing they probably don't want this information out because people who are actually up to something might start using new code words to communicate. In the world we live in, who knows?
The world changed for Americans after 9/11. There's no escaping that fact. While I agree the government should make it a priority to protect its citizens from genuine terrorist threats, have we as a nation gone too far in our suspicion? In America we have freedom of speech thanks to the 1st Amendment. We are still free to say these kinds of words online, but if we do, we may be sacrificing our privacy. Should we be okay with that?
I can say this much. I'm not comfortable with the far-reaching nature of this list. It seems to stretch too far. How many people are unwittingly bringing themselves under government scrutiny while checking out the latest news stories about the wars we have going around the world? How many people looking for pork recipes or deciding where to go on vacation are being monitored?
I've often said that we need to choose our words carefully, because words have power. Yet, even the most innocuous of words can make you seem suspect these days. One can argue that if you're participating in social media, you're already voluntarily surrendering your privacy. However, it feels different to have a government official poring over my online history than it does to have regular, everyday people reading what I have to say. The government has the power to do much more damage to your life than most everyday people.
Here's a quote for you to ponder.
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."
Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974)