Government Spying and ME

No, “ME” isn’t an acronym for a data collection system. Well, I guess in a way it is, but this “ME” is simply “me”, or as I’m officially known (middle name omitted)—Patrick White. This post is about my feelings about the NSA looking through Verizon data and other systems that the government uses to “keep tabs” on us citizens.

Government spying and me...I’ll never know all the systems/methods the government uses and the extent of the “me” database they have. I don’t care if it’s a Republican or Democratic president, a Republican- or Democratic-controlled congress. I don’t care if the federal judges are conservative or liberal, or riding the middle. What I have to say is this, so listen up government, this one’s for you!

I don’t plan to overthrow the government. I don’t believe in using violence to accomplish my political goals. If this were 1775 I might feel differently; today I don’t. What I do believe in is a free and open press. What I do believe is my right to speak freely and openly within the limits of decency, which some of our elected representatives don’t recognize. What I do believe is my right to live reading a free and open press, and speaking out when I disagree with what my, yes, my, government is doing.

Let’s face it government, throughout the last 237 years or so, you have done some things that weren’t quite honest—in fact, you have lied to us many times. You’ve done things that probably wouldn’t have had the people’s support—so you kept it a secret. You’ve done things that, to put it bluntly, violated the law of our great land or of any moral society, so you either didn’t tell us or you ignored what we said. I realize it’s the elected politicians or political appointees that directed these meanderings into “no-no” land, but that doesn’t make any difference. You took and oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, so do it. You, government, represent the people of the United States, so represent us here and internationally in ways that bring credit to this great country!

We learned recently about your PRISM program. It wasn’t really “breaking” news, but it stirred up a lot of controversy anyway. You tell us that the program helps protect us from terrorist attacks, but what are you doing with all the data you collect. You saw fit to include some 1,400 ‘pieces’ of data in the President’s daily briefings, so where are the billions of other ‘pieces’ of data, and what are you doing with them?

I have observed a lot as I have traveled this great land. I’ve seen people at their best and worst but, overall, I believe that we are as free as we can be given the world we live in. Our great country isn’t a police state, or a socialist state. It isn’t a communist state or a conservative state. However, there are elected representatives (city, county, state, federal) whose goal it is to turn our country into something they imagine, and that isn’t good. We, as a nation, are in trouble if our country becomes one that reflects the visions of a few. We have problems when our representatives stop representing us and start representing themselves or their special interests. What do we do then?

Fortunately, we have an out and it’s called the ‘ballot box’. We don’t need to take up arms when a political figure aggravates us, we can vote that person out of office. So, what can we do in between ballot boxes?

Well, an example is this post. I’m speaking out. I’m not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater (or using the “b” or “g” words), but I am speaking out in one method I have…this post. Other ways available to me today are various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Sulia, etc.), letters to newspapers (locally and nationally), telephone calls to my representatives, emails, text messages and other ways I can’t think of now.

Will my messages contain hate? No. Will I direct my messages to a particular representative or a political party? Yes. Will some of my messages embarrass or cast shame on that representative or political party? Yes, sometimes I need to use strong wording to make my point. If those words embarrass or shame you, well, you shouldn’t have done it or said it. In other words, you deserved the shame or embarrassment.

Do I have secret material to disclose? No and it’s extremely doubtful that I will. If I did, then I have to decide if the release is worth “going to the wall” over. If it is, I’ll release it; otherwise, I’ll shred it. Given my circumstances, this is a decision I’ll never have to make.

Sidebar: Given what I just wrote, I’ll be extremely suspicious if anyone shows up at my door with a folder full of “secret” material. So, don’t even think about doing it!

I’ll speak out given the channels I have. I will communicate my thoughts and feelings to others using my channels. I will not stop speaking because my words embarrass or shame you. I will not hide or lower my profile! Here I am! Monitor me I don’t care! Will you quiet my voice? No. Remember the first three words of our Constitution (I love those words), “We the people…” I am one of the people, I have the right to speak, and I will use that right all you have to do is remember that. The only way you can quiet my dissenting words is to manage our great country according to our Constitution and moral decency!