There has been a lot of talk recently, of course, about Edward Snowden and traitors. There has been a great deal of public gnashing of teeth and wailing by our elected leaders over his release of the snazzy Micro$oft PowerPoint slideshow that was not meant for public consumption. There was a really well done piece explaining how, under the definitions given in the US Constitution, Snowden has not committed treason. Not going to talk about that today. Not directly.
Instead, what I find bothersome is just how much acceptance there is about this from the vast majority of people. I really shouldn’t be surprised, and I suppose I’m not really. Still, I am disappointed. When it broke, I had hoped that perhaps this would be sufficient to bring about a ground swell of anger and activity. There was certainly an initial outburst of shock. And, yet, very quickly since then …
There has been some small amount of noise at the fringes. Reddit has been one place where a little activity has taken place. The Daily Kos, EFF, and a lot of other organizations have quietly come out in opposition. Note the key word being quietly. These organizations sent out emails to their members. I know. I got some of them. I certainly didn’t get all of them. I’m not on all of their mailing lists. There was some activity on the right. Again, I know. I saw some of it. I heard about other, and I went looking to see if there was any in other places. At the fringes, yes. In the heart, in the mainstream? No. Not really.
stopwatching.us was set up to collect signatures. I want to share with you a screen shot taken from that site on the morning of June 16, 2013. It is a compilation that shows their “Selected Signatories.” I’ve compiled the 4 categories that they have on four separate tabs – Organizations, Individuals, Businesses, and Members of US Congress – together for you to take in all at once.
As of this morning, they have collected 178,350 signatures. Please read that again. That’s a sad number.
No one cares. The majority of the country is so used to the intrusions of the PATRIOT Act, warrantless searches, surrendering our civil liberties in the name of security, and the concept that “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear,” that this kind of “revelation” is blasé. No worries, mate.
According to one poll (as reliable as that may be), 54% of Americans think that Snowden did the right thing in exposing PRISM, but 53% still think he should be prosecuted. A vast majority of people say they’re following the story closely. My theory as to why? Because to most people this is just the next episode in the Bourne Chronicles. Most people are likely watching to see which scenario happens next. Will he be subjected to “extraordinary rendition”? Will he be found dead “by his own hand”? Will he be mundanely arrested and extradited back to the US? Will he become an “asset” of the Chinese or some other foreign government that would like access to the information he may still have not released yet?
They are not paying attention because they are interested in or concerned about the actual issues. I see in both left of center and right of center blogs, as well as the main stream media the over-whelming theme of “Who cares?” about the program itself. I actually read the words, “I am not sure I care if the government is reading my email or listening in on my phone calls as long as it keeps me safe.” The majority of the coverage of this case is about who is Edward Snowden? (My Google search for the term, “Who is edward snowden” returned 1,180,000,000 results) What is Booz Allen Hamilton? (A firm most of us had never heard of before.) Should we be privatizing “national security”? (A question that probably should have been asked 40 years ago, but which was answered as an inevitable part of the supply-side, conservative domination of the government over that time period. What did y’all really expect?) And, so on. Very little about the intrusiveness of this program which in all likelihood has accomplished nothing in terms of actual security, despite claims to the contrary.
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