The recent National Security Administration (NSA) issue is a tough one. And it’s ironic that conservative-minded officials, in my mind anyway, were always the ones criticized for evesdropping on American citizens. Now it’s the “liberal” party being accused of snooping on Americans. Do you think the political party in power has anything to do with the criticism?
Anyway, I personally don’t have anything to hide – except maybe saying a bad word or two on my cell phone – that makes me overly alarmed that Big Brother may be randomly listening in on my conversations. But, on the other hand, I like my privacy as much as anyone. In fact, I’m very private about my personal life, which is a major reason I don’t get involved in all the Facebook chatter. Who cares when I mow my yard ... right?
It’s a fact terrorist groups and lone wolves are out to harm our country. A few have succeeded. But many attempts are thwarted and a major reason is that our own spooks are closely watching many of us who have attracted their attention. It’s unfortunate they have to keep and eye on us but I like that. I take great comfort in knowing that I can feel reasonably safe when I get on an airplane and fly anywhere in this country. And, when I get where I’m going, I can enjoy my visit without worrying about bombs going off in streetside cafes, subways, government buildings and baseball stadiums.
There’s definitely a swap-off here. Personal freedom vs. personal safety. If we want the government to quit watching us, that means suspicious-acting citizens won’t be monitored either. That’s scary and it’s something I don’t want to chance. To enjoy our freedoms and such an open society, we’ve got to have safeguards.
If eavesdropping on Americans means the difference between going outdoors and feeling safe or staying behind closed doors, I want the outdoors. Being afraid to leave home is truly a lack of freedom.
Now, on the other hand, the IRS targeting particular groups in an effort to intimidate them is another matter. That’s using a governmental agency to threaten its own citizens. As our Founding Father and 3rd US President, Thomas Jefferson, succinctly put it, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."