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Reply #72


Response to CakeGrrl (Reply #18)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 02:05 AM

72. It comes down to how much you value democracy, representative government. I value it greatly.

I value democracy, representative government, participatory government so much that I volunteer in political campaigns, I discuss politics with my neighbors and friends and family, and I read and post on DU to keep up with political developments. I devote a lot of time to democracy and to participating in what I have always thought was the democracy in which I live.

So once you decide how much you value democracy, it comes down to what you believe is necessary in a society in order to have a democracy.

For me, we need a free press, near absolute freedom of expression (right up to the point at which the only expression that should be barred is expression that makes democracy and the expression by others of their ideas impossible), freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom to petition government and a government that answers to all the people and not just the wealthy, the well connected.

For me, a democratic, a representative government answers to the people. It does not manipulate the people. It does not indulge in psy-ops, influencing the people with psychological tricks. It does not require the people to use ID cards made with technology that uses biological markers like DNA or a photo of the singular eye of the card-holder.

When I was a child, I was told that our Forefathers fought and worked and wrote the Constitution so that we would live in a democracy, so that we would have and participate in representative government and so that certain rights we be guaranteed to us to insure that we could live in democracy.

This surveillance program is incompatible with democracy because it makes a free press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and all our other freedoms impossible.

It makes a joke of representative government, since under this surveillance program we cannot, without the government's knowledge, communicate with each other or learn news that the government might not approve.

Further, once the government has collected our metadata, knows the names of the people we communicate with, the organizations we belong to, the books we buy or borrow, etc. the government, regardless which party is in charge, can classify us, and most important, if it sees what websites we visit, it can categorize us by our interests.

Once it has that and similar information, it can influence us. It can make sure that we are contacted by people who have links to the organizations, religious, social, professional, that are important to us. It can make sure that we will be exposed to the information it wants us to have.

In fact, I have wondered, here on DU, whether one or maybe more of the people who post a lot and always feed us with information, very elaborate and well organized information that is extremely, unusually and always favorable about, flattering to, our current government are employed by someone, maybe the government, to influence us, to do psy-ops on us on DU.

It may just be coincidence, but, is it possible that a real person would always, always, always be able to think up reasons, arguments for us to side with the Obama administration? A person who genuinely thinks for him or herself is, in my opinion bound on occasion, at least once in a while, to disagree with Obama on something no matter how much they support Obama.

I strongly object to this surveillance program. It is not compatible with democracy or representative government.

It is also not compatible with human rights. The minute that our government places us under surveillance we are not free to say or think what we really say or think.

This program enables the government to manipulate and influence us -- inevitably. If the government is not yet actively influencing and manipulating us, sooner or later it will.

This surveillance takes away our freedom.

In my view, for that reason, it is unconstitutional.

If you think I am wrong or exaggerating, think a little harder.

A reporter whose phone records, whose metadata is collected by the government cannot make a call to talk to a source without the government knowing that the communication is taking place.

A troubled soul cannot call his pastor or his doctor's office with the government finding out that call took place.

An abused wife cannot call an attorney for advice without the government knowing about it.

This surveillance deprives us of our freedom and enables our government to influence us. That is not democracy.

So that is why I am grateful to Snowden for letting us know that this program is taking place.

Punishing Snowden would mean the government is telling the American people that the American people do not even have the right to discuss this surveillance program, much less criticize it.

Obama has said we should have a discussion about surveillance, but he wants to punish the person who began this discussion. That makes no sense.

Again, there is somehow a contradiction between claiming that you encourage discussion on a topic and then trying to arrest the very person who started the conversation.

We live in dangerous times. Surveillance is a dangerous development.

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LineLineLineReply It comes down to how much you value democracy, representative government. I value it greatly.
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