Every year America steals my thunder. You see, my birthday is on the fourth of July, known to many as Independence Day, and it couldn’t be more ironic. I’m not a hater of freedom by any means, in fact I love being free so much that when a federal holiday comes around with rules and regulations protecting us from the very thing we claim to be celebrating, well, doggone it, it kind of rustles my jimmies.
I know, Gorilla Munch gorilla, I shouldn’t let my jimmies be unjustly rustled! I guess a part of me deep down questions how much effort to put forth for a people who love and even believe they need their shackles. Now, ain’t nothing gonna break my stride because I still know how to get down for my birthday, even in my increasing old age.
Except for the massive amount of rain that will be descending upon Florida, I look forward to celebrating my freedom as much as I am allowed to. Scratch that, it’s my birthday, I might even break some laws or participate in some victimless crimes! I mean, it’s not like you can avoid breaking laws anyway.
So, if we are in constant danger of breaking meaningless codes, what does that say of the state of freedom in this country? Even more crucial are the questions that arise when we consider a particular individual named Edward Snowden who revealed to the US public what many already assumed: that the NSA was spying on us by reading our naughty text messages. The fedgov wants to charge him with espionage which by definition is giving state secrets to the enemy. Consider who he gave this information to: the media who in turn released it to the public. Now think for a minute, who do you believe the fedgov considers the enemy?
Isn’t the realization that the American public and ally governments are considered the enemy a wee bit unsettling? But what about muh freedomz?! While I believe that mental freedom in this age is more and more accessible, the loss of our civil liberties is cause for concern. Snowden’s plight reminds me of Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People, where Dr. Stockmann reveals damning information about the expensive baths that the town has invested heavily in. Stockmann was fervently behind the baths as a way to increase tourism and promote health, but discovers that they are being contaminated and tries to warn his friends and neighbors in the community. He is ridiculed and even threatened with violence for disrupting what would be a very profitable plan, and the play makes an excellent point about the tyranny of mob rule.
We are seeing Snowden being painted as a traitor by mainstream media and even people coming out demanding he be hanged (or worse) for treason. Let that sink in. The guy who wants you to know the truth about your government’s covert and criminal activities against its own people and other innocents around the world is being persecuted by the very people he wants to set free. Now, many in the libertarian and anarchist community share my views that this man should be considered courageous for infiltrating and uncovering the dark secrets of the largest intelligence gathering agency in the world, but let’s not fall victim to our own echo chamber. Mainstream ‘Murica wants his head.
So, while we blow things up and stuff our gullets on the fourth, consider that there is a man out there who is being hunted like a dog for having a conscience, and that many people support that. Is this the majority’s idea of celebrating freedom? Freedom from what, exactly? It is one thing to love your own shackles, but quite another to advocate that free people be subjected to them also.
I could say more about what that says about US society, I could blame former administrations for implementing the legislation making illegal/immoral activities legal, I could make the claim that it doesn’t matter what was done in the past but rather how that legislation is being used in the here and now; but for now I will hope against hope that Snowden escapes from the clutches of a government that is the real enemy of the people. I can’t remember the last time I wanted so badly for someone to evade the sociopaths of the state, and that’s all I really want for my birthday.
Well, that and maybe a little more action to clog up the NSA’s text logs.
Warning: this blog post is about to get stinky.
What if a lot of people participate in some good ole fashioned civil disobedience by sending ridiculous texts back and forth describing an everyday physical activity like say…pooping? Maybe we should show the NSA that we not only give a shit, but we give many shits about them spying on us. Shoot, maybe we could even have a name like People Opposed to Oppressive Public Spying (POOPS). Maybe it’s a shitty idea, maybe it could be well organized and effective, maybe I’ve had too much coffee, maybe this is a job for Chuck Norris wherever he is.