America is dying. It is suffering the death of a thousand cuts.
And it is not alone.
Across the globe human rights are being undermined in the name of globalization and, most insulting, in the name of security.
Since I know best what is happening in the United States, I shall focus my attention there, but as I said, we are not the only ones suffering.
We have for the last few generations verbally rejected the idea of internal passports, we do not (as yet) have gestapo-like forces roaming the streets asking us "Papers, please" but we are not far from it.
Thanks to secret legislation (defined as legislation whose existence and purpose are intentionally hidden or cloaked from public knowledge) the Federal government has in place requirements of computer readable identification for banking, government services, and employment verification, though they have not (as yet) begun to enforce these requirements. A small handful of Congressmen are responsible for this.
What is wrong with it you might ask? It puts us just a few paces from being required to carry internal passports that can be used to monitor everything we do everyday. It isn't hard for them to start requiring RFID chips embedded that can be read from yards away, most likely without us ever knowing.
So far most states have interpreted the legislation in such a way that they have incorporated magnetic strips and barcodes that must be read at close range, making it obvious when they are being examined - or does it?
Without thinking about it we allow employers to link our Social Security Number (SSN) to our identity, using it as our employee ID number. Without thinking about it we allow hospitals to use our SSN as our patient ID number. Without thinking about it we allow banks to link our SSN to our bank account. Without thinking about it we allow schools and colleges to link our SSN to our educational records. Without thinking about it we allow our state governments to link our driver's licenses to our SSN, frequently printing it right on the front of our ID cards.
Lets see, that means with our SSN the government (and hackers by the way) can access our driving records, our educational credentials, our financial records, our health records, and our employment history. Do you want the government having that kind of access to your life???
The Federal government passed the USA Patriot Act. This fact alone seems innocent enough - until you actually examine the powers it grants the Federal government. It too qualifies as secret legislation even though everyone has heard of it. It qualifies because the law that was signed by the President is not what Congress agreed upon. During the debates and negotiations Congress had inserted safeguards seeking to protect the rights of American citizens. The night before the formal vote of Congress the altered legislation was replaced by the original legislation the President wanted. The majority of Congress was never told and to this day have no clue about this. Unwittingly, Congress voted to pass the law before them and it was promptly signed into law by the President.
Among the more insidious measures of the USA Patriot Act is the Federal government having the power to seize bookstore purchase records and library patronage records. Are you sure you have never read anything the government might find questionable?
It also allows the government to perform covert searches of our businesses and homes, seizing anything within them, without warrant or notification. Imagine going to work or school one day and returning to find your house ransacked and your beloved computer missing. The first thought in your mind? One, this violates our constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure. There is a reason we have required law enforcement to get search warrants from the courts. They are a safeguard against governmental corruption. This type of search will also cause local law enforcement resources to be wasted when the victim calls police to report a burglary because they do not know it was the government who did it.
Probably the most well known violation is the governments secret domestic surveillance program which, in fact, was either in place well before the USA Patriot Act or was planned for in advance. The government already had the equipment ready to go when the law was passed. Conspiracy theorists have accused the government for years of covert domestic surveillance of telephone and computer communications. The facts about the government's current surveillance program and the speed it was instituted makes me wonder, though I am not ready to throw my hat in with the theorists quite yet.
And telephone and computer communications are not the only thing under surveillance. It is well known that the government has and continues to use covert operatives to monitor any organization (including third political parties) who dare to question or campaign against governmental and corporate misconduct. The SS did not die during World War II, they just changed sides - or so it seems.
Historically, I have never been one to be very political. I was indoctrinated, like most of America, to believe the government was benevolent - protecting our country and our rights as citizens. But I was also raised to keep my eyes open and to think for myself. Unfortunately, the more I see of issues like these, the more it undermines my confidence and belief in the U.S. government.
I have been told by many that my viewpoints about our government and big business will probably end up with me on the no-fly list and subject myself to governmental surveillance and harrassment. They are probably right. I have just one thing to say about that.
"Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn."