Sunday, June 9, 2013

Who Decides?

Watch this video. It's only 12:35 long. Take the time to watch and listen.

   Did you watch the entire video? Good. Please allow me to offer some of my own insights regarding the revelations brought out in it. First, I find myself in awe of the courage that this young man has exhibited. We throw the word hero around a bit too loosely these days for my taste, but I feel that this man qualifies for that moniker. Think about who it is and what it is that he is "outing" here. Do you really think that the CIA or NSA is just going to let him walk? He knew what he was leaving himself open to before he came out with the information on the NSA spying on us, yet he did it anyway. I cannot adequately express the respect I have for this young man.

   He is twenty-nine years old, was living in Hawaii, and was making a great deal of money. Suffice to say he was living the good life. Why would he give that up? Why would he risk everything to expose a government program of spying on its citizens? Did he not know that he would be a "marked man" after doing so? As he states later in the video, "What would it take to make you leave everything behind?" What indeed. How strongly do you believe in liberty? What sacrifices are you willing to make? This is not a soldier, trained to kill or be killed on the battlefield. This is not a police officer, who knows that each shift could be his last. This was a computer analyst, who thought he was going to be doing something to help his fellow citizens. A young man who went through college, developed a certain skill-set, and hoped to make a good living with those skills. Yet he has made a decision, which will render him a target of his own government. A decision, which likely will see him dead soon, no doubt of "mysterious causes." Would you have done what he did?

   Early in the video he makes a very telling point. One which I, and others, have been trying, in my own way, to make for several years now. In describing the abuses he has witnessed he laments that such abuses are allowed to occur by those in charge of the agency(cies) involved. How has this come to pass, that the NSA or any other government agency, feels that it can simply ignore the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, and our liberties with impunity? How?! He goes on to say that "These things need to be determined by the public, not by somebody who was simply hired by the government." Did you hear that when he said it? Did you read it carefully, as I wrote it? Determined by the public! Sounds good, doesn't it? Sounds like something one of our Founding Fathers might say. The thing that I find so very frightening is that the public has already made their decision.

   If you are one of those party loyalists I am always railing against then you already don't like me very much. That's cool. I'm not doing this to win a popularity contest. There are things that I feel need to be said and I am going to say them come what may. But if you already find my opinions a little "distasteful," then you are really going to be angry with me after this. "Determined by the people," right? I am afraid we are too late. Who did you vote for last election? Hmm? Who did you vote for in 2000? 2004? 2008? 2012? From president on down to the House of Representatives, who did you vote for? Was it the same old guy you have always voted for? Was it the guy with the D or the R next to his name, because that's how you have always voted? Was it the guy that the party or the TV news said you should vote for? Did you vote for the guy/gal based on their track record or based on their election year rhetoric? If yours was a repeat vote, for an incumbent, was yours one of the folks who have voted in recent years to authorize the Patriot Act, the NDAA, SOPA, CISPA, or the FAA Reauthorization Act, just to name a few? Don't run and hide now! Be honest. Embrace your decisions. Be proud of who you voted for and stand behind your vote. Don't try to weasel your way out of it now.

   You see, we have the government we voted for. While you dare to sit there at your computer and scream about those evil Democrats or those evil Republicans, you willingly, purposely, and knowingly ignore your own part in this. YOU VOTED FOR THE POLTROONS WHO BROUGHT THIS ABOUT! Don't try to pretend you didn't. Do you now deny it?! Democrats, do I really need to point out the voting records of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and their acolytes for you? Republicans, have you ever even bothered to look at Eric Cantor's voting record? John Boehner's? Paul Ryan's, just to name a few? OK, OK, let's assume that you are just going to continue to ignore their records from past votes (Not too difficult to make that assumption). How about the present. What are they doing now? Republican or Democrat? What are they doing to stop this and undo the damage? What's that you say? They're holding hearings on a multitude of such violations in Congress now? Has anyone been indicted, impeached, fired, sent to prison? Anyone?! Do you really think that anyone will ultimately be punished for these transgressions by our government? Or is it more likely that once November comes and goes, and the political usefulness of these hearings has been exhausted, everything will return to business as usual? You'll forgive me if my experience tells me that the hearings are all a big show to gain votes for November and nothing more.

   So, another whistle-blower comes forward and substantiates what we already suspected - our government is lying to us and abusing our rights. Many of you will applaud his courage and efforts, as I have. However, come next election (This November) who are you going to vote for? Come 2014, who are you going to vote for? Do these violations matter to you? Should something be done about them? Should the abusers be held accountable for their actions and imprisoned, as you or I would be? And just who do you think is going to hold them accountable? The guys who made it possible for them to commit these abuses? The guys that you keep voting for every election? The next time you decide that the people responsible for these travesties must be held accountable just ask yourself this question, "Who did I vote for last election?"