Big Brother

governmentI often talk about social policies I don’t like, social issues that I think are pressing, or solutions to problems from my point of view. Often though, the ideas are kind of at an academic distance, and so I thought I would share just one way these vague, and seemingly distant policies really effect me, and probably others.

The reason I thought of this was because I just sent an email to my sister. A week or so ago my mom had sent us a video about some sort of terrorist threat in the NYC subways, and the newscaster went on to explain why it was an “easy target” etc. So we then had a couple of back and forth emails about how annoyed we get when the media provides a blueprint of sorts for people who really would carry out such heinous acts. Then I thought about how many movies I have seen with elaborate plots on how to rob a bank, blow up a city, etc, and I sent that thought to my sister.

Immediately after sending the email, I had a queasy feeling. I had just sent communication over the internet containing the text ” how to rob a bank, blow up a city”. The thought that this email was going to be picked up in some governmental office scanning emails for suspected terrorist activities crossed my mind. And this isn’t the first time that I’ve had this feeling. With domestic wiretapping, communication interception and a raft of other policies ushered in by Bush throughout his presidency and the Patriot Act, those of us who think Big Brother might be peeking over our shoulder when we communicate, are no longer paranoid- we are realistic.

I don’t want to live in a country where as a completely innocent citizen, I have to second guess my words when talking to my family. I’m not saying I had a full blow panic attack, or I started hyperventilating. But the fact that the thought crossed my mind, that I might pop up on a watch list somewhere, even if for only a second, is unsettling. Has our society really become so dangerous that it is necessary to surrender our right to privacy? The terrorist watch list maintained by the FBI has nearly 1 million names on it. Call me crazy, but I don’t think we have that many terrorists running amok.

So that’s it really. Just an observation I had. And this sort of thing only wants me to redouble efforts to protect our civil liberties and promote social justice at home and abroad.


Government labels Nuns & Pacifists “terrorists”


9 Responses

  1. Police states form when people forget that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

  2. I hate the way so many of these policies are ushered in “for the good of us all”.
    I hate that we are told that if we are innocent then surely we have nothing to hide. What about the basic right to privacy? Even if I’m not doing anything wrong it doesn’t mean that I want some government agent watching me do it…

    In the UK we are a surveillance nation. We are currently the most watched population in the world, there is CCTV everywhere. It is of course for our safety. But to use a famous quote “Who watches the watchers?”

    A recent documentary showed CCTV operators were actually far more likely to zoom in on groups of women than to follow groups of men. This is because most CCTV operators are male. They were not looking for drunken male fights but for drunken female exposure. Not very supportive of the “for our safety” argument is it?

    In America I thought it was telling that most of these “Big Brother” policies were brought in under the label of the Patriot Act. The meaning was clear – if you disagree with the policies then you are unpatriotic. A very clever and cynical ploy I suspect, certainly one that works better in America than it would here in the UK. In America it seems that there few things worse than be being classed unpatriotic…

  3. It’s only becoming worse.

    To be honest with you, this whole goddamn generation and life of ‘political correctness’ is bullshit. I fell into it a while back, but why should you have to goddamn second guess every word that comes out of your mouth just so that it’s ‘politically correct’? You know who you are, you know your intentions, that’s what matters.
    Write what you like in emails, I say! If you ever have any issues, stand strong, know your laws, your rights, and kick whatever asshole it is in the butt!
    There’s way too much surveillance these days, it’s absolutely ridiculous. We need a revolution! A motherfucking revolution!

  4. Jim- you are 100% correct. You might enjoy a piece on wrote on just that:

    posteret i’ve always been surprised by the fact that Britain has the most surveillance (what did you think about V for Vendetta by the way?)
    And you were spot on with your astute observation that the act was called “patriot” meaning you weren’t one if you didn’t support it.

    thats one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to military policy, and now domestic policy…its a shame that people continue to fall for it. it is such a potent force that careers can be made or broke on “being patriotic or not”, which is always defined by those in power.

    as it has been said before, the most patriotic thing you can do is question the government

    mymemorandums-welcome to the site & thanks for your post. i love your enthusiasm about this, and i would be lying if i said i disagreed about the revolution bit..that idea, though i have temporarily put on hold, and im waiting to see how this next year or two goes w/obama…although the fundamental functioning of our political system is inherently corrupt and skewed towards the wealthy and powerful- and that does need to change…

  5. You were nice enough to drop by my site and leave a comment, so I wanted to reciprocate. I often try to do that, and then find myself scowering through the posts to find one to relate to or comment on! UGH!

    Not so in this case! First post I read I was like man I’ve had that feeling! Especially when on the phone! I always wonder if my ranting is going to cause me a trip to Gitmo! haha. Funny, but not!

  6. you said it and how sad the reality is huh?
    we shouldn’t have to watch every little thing we say or do. There just seems to be too many rules

  7. this image is awesome and goes perfectly with your post which voices a legitimate concern

    also, thanks for coming by my site and participating in discussions over there!

  8. I think you have a valid point here Kevin, but I also have to note that you would be hard pressed to find someone who has had their life disrupted by or harm done to them by the Patriot Act. I have not heard of one case in all these years…

  9. Hi Tattered- long time no see…

    have you heard of the rnc8?

    they were among the first civilians to be charged under a version (minnesota’s) of the PATRIOT Act.

    big court case going on. I would look it up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: