“When our intelligence professionals have the legal tools to gather information about the intentions of our enemies, America is safer,” Bush said. “And when these same legal tools also protect the civil liberties of Americans, then we can have the confidence to know that we can preserve our freedoms while making America safer.” — Guardian UK
It’s been a good long while since I expressed any sort of political opinion here on Nerd’s Eye View. I was tired of being shrill and ineffective and there are plenty of people writing better political commentary than I. And I’ve been crippled with a kind of apathetic bitterness since the presidential election fiasco of 2004. I should have been revitalized by the housecleaning that Congress underwent in 2006, but I was so skeptical that I was unable to celebrate. And now, my worst fears about the “new” Congress – that they’re still weak, unmotivated, and lack the nerve to shake the grip the Bush administration has on the nation – have been realized.
You know what we like to do at our house? Send money back and forth across the Atlantic. And you know what we also like to do? Make a lot of long distance calls to far away places. We like to discuss the transfer of funds on the phone and then we like to talk about how much we can’t stand the Bush administration. And, also, what we ate for dinner the night before or how the picnic went or how the relatives are and what are your plans for travel, anyway. It’s a thing we do. Because you know, we live here in Seattle and there in Austria and we plan our escapes to far away places and we pay a little attention to the world around us. Some times we use the words “terrorist” and “Iran” and “plan” and “airplane” all in the same conversation. And we say things like, “Yeah, I checked the account, the funds are there.”
Apparently, Congress thinks it’s okay that the US government sits in on those conversations. This infuriates me. My communications are none of the government’s damn business. Congress has traded my civil rights – and yours – for the politics of fear.
I’m tired of this crap. I’m tired of a weak democracy that concedes to the right for, what, exactly? I’m tired of hearing that we lack the political will to act on, well, anything. I’m tired of being disappointed. I’m tired of seeing grandstanding events like Live Earth while Kyoto sits unsigned, while fuel efficiency standards go unlegislated, while transit remains underfunded and gas undertaxed. I’m tired of listening to Democratic candidates tell me that if only they have the power, they’ll implement a national health insurance coverage and I’m tired of seeing them do nothing about it. I’m tired of being pushed further to left because the left is being pushed further to the right. I’m tired of a weak and ineffective Congress failing to put a stop to the shameless corruption, manipulation, and complete disrespect for the grand ideals of America. I’m tired of my own ranting cynicism.
The wiretapping bill is a travesty. What was in that bill that made Congress sign off on our civil rights? More money for Ted Steven’s Alaska palace? More contracts for Dick Cheney’s Haliburton? More funding for Saudi defense? More importantly, who voted for it? Did your representative sell your civil rights so they could get out of the office on a summer Saturday afternoon? What kind of government wiretaps its own citizens under the guise of protecting their security?
It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourselfâ€”anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your faceâ€¦ was itself a punishable offense.–George Orwell, 1984
Yo, Congress. Can you tell what I’m thinking right now?