These last few weeks, America has been in an uproar over the leaking/acknolwedgement of classified spy programs conducted by the U.S. Government.
Depending (as usual) on which side of the coin you fall, Edward Snowden is either a hero or a traitor. Although I would ask anyone that can remember, if the Rosenbergs were heroes. They gave up the secret of the atom bomb to the Soviets for those of you that don't. Not saying it's exactly the same, but parallels can be drawn.
I will note that way back when they were passing the Patriot Act, I screamed at the top of my lungs that something like this would happen. No one wanted to listen then, but now all of a sudden it's a problem that we are gathering information on allegedly foreign and domestic communications that pose the threat of terrorism.
This is part of the reason I am done with politics, the government and all that. Yes, I still voted Tuesday, but it's becoming harder and harder to justify my vote for either candidate, or any candidate for that matter, in any election.
To me, we get what we vote for - or we don't, because some corporation paid most of the money to fund a person's candidacy. I understand they have interests, just as you or I do, but whose interests should a candidate favor?
It's been clear since the end of World War II that it is not the average citizen, it is the company or companies who throw the most money at a candidate.
If you don't know Monsanto, think of them as the Food Industrial Complex: just as ominous and evil as President Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex from a few generations ago. From what I know, I certainly did like "Ike." But this isn't really about him.
What price are you willing to pay for your freedom? Should there be a price tag on freedom? And, if freedom isn't free, shouldn't we call it something else?
I can say that with only one exception, I have never felt that my freedoms had been infringed upon. If I want to go, I go. If I want to do, I do. I guess the most troubling thing about that is there are those who do the same and hope to not be caught by the police. I guess my conscience doesn't allow me to do anything that would make me worry about the possible consequences.
My wife, however, definitely feels as though her freedoms have been limited.
As we were completing our Massachusetts First-time Homebuyers program last weekend, she became very distraught. She would not be able to get the dog (a Siberian husky) or trampoline she so desperately wanted; homeowners insurance wouldn't cover us if we did get those things.
She questioned the freedoms we think we have in this country, if she couldn't even get the dog she wanted. I agreed, but understood that trampolines and certain dog breeds can be a bit dangerous, not to us but to others. Which is what got me really thinking about freedom.
Am I willing to give up A and B, so that I can have C?
It's a tough question, and there is no easy answer, unless you are Ben Franklin. Everything seemed to come easy to him. Everyone, I am sure, has heard a paraphrase of his security and freedom quote in the last 13 years - Those willing to give up liberty for security deserve neither.
On the grand scale, I agree. Which is why I was against the Patriot Act to begin with. And Franklin was right. No one should want or justify a ‘1984'-esque government keeping their electric eye on everyone and everything.
On a smaller scale, I am happy to get a Jack Russell terrier, put a fence with a locked gate around the pool, and call it a day.
It is evident that there will always be some types of attempted control - either by the government or an insurance agency - and I am OK with that because not everyone has self control, no matter how hard they try. Maybe some day we will be able to attain the type of utopia where we don't need external controls, but that is centuries away and certain shackles must be broken that seem tighter the more you struggle against them.
Our government is certainly one of the shackles we must address. For too long we have allowed secrecy to rule. Things certainly changed post-World War II, and in a lot of cases not always for the better. Is that one of the costs for living in an advancing and highly technological world?
In my opinion, we have become paralyzed by our own fear of what might be just around the corner. We tremble when some one not like us walks passed us on the street. But in the end we are all the same. President Ronald Reagan said it best. To paraphrase: Our differences would quickly dissolve if we were faced with some kind of alien threat to our planet.
Now that would be a struggle.
I do think certain struggles are shifting in our - the people's - favor, but we still have a long way to go. The one thing that does give me hope is that we're closer now than we were 237 years ago.