Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hello NSA, feel free to comment . . .

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
                                                                                   -Patrick Henry, St. John's Church,
                                                                                    Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775

I learned this quote in Mrs. Alexander's social studies class in eighth grade and performed it often in the ensuing years, with as much flourish and passion as a Shakespearean thespian, spittle and all.  You would think I could have remembered it perfectly for this post, but I was not sure, so I Googled it.

That google search may mean trouble.  If you don't see me for awhile, you might want to call Gitmo. No wait. Don't call. No reason for you to get involved. Oh crap, you're reading this post already. Sorry about that. Perhaps we can be roomies. Bring a file.

Considering the revolutionary bent of Henry's incendiary language, I would imagine my Google  search and perhaps this post might be perused by PRISM, or some other National Security Agency software, and potentially appear as a data statistic in tomorrow's security report to the President.

Something to shoot for.

Oops.  That probably didn't sound right either. I hope the computer program has a filter for folksy language.

The last couple of days the news has been dominated by reports that the United States government is snooping on we the people, sifting through phone records and Internet search engine records, mining data that might strike the terrorist mother lode.  Verizon and other phone companies have been under continuing secret National Security Agency subpoenas to provide  phone records.   Google and Internet providers were probably ordered to provide search records.

Apparently the records of all of us who have used the subject companies were turned over.  Probably all of us. Probably all of the U. S. of A. Wonder what they do with all those cute kitten videos.

Our government believes, if a government is capable of believing, that it is spying on us for our own good.  To assure our security. To protect the peace and our lives.

I'm with Patrick.  The suggested retail price for peace and security is getting too high for my liking.

The problem is, the snooping is probably legal.

No problem. If we the people, Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians are opposed to it, let's just change the laws.  Finally, something we can agree on.

Not so fast comrade. That's revolutionary talk.

 Unfortunately, the only thing in the universe which has strong bi-partisan support in Congress are these NSA actions to keep us safe. Democrats and Republicans alike have known what is going on, and are defending the actions en masse.

Still no problem.  Surely President Obama will stop it.  He never goes along with Congress.

Wrong again, traitor Joe.  The President agrees with Congress.  I'll give you a moment to ponder that.

*  *  *

Patrick Henry delivered his passionate speech to convince the Virginia Assembly to send Virginia militia to serve in the Revolutionary War against England  It worked.

His words seem timeless.  But now, it is not England that is taking our liberty.  And while I disagree with the stance taken by Congress and the President, I don't think it is fair to say that they have taken our liberty.

We the people have willingly given away our liberty for over a decade because we are afraid.  

Since 9/11 we have avoided the question.  What is the balance between liberty and security?

To be free or not to be, that is the question  .  .  .


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