December 3, 2002
By Bridget Gibson
Futuristic fiction writers have long tried to envision a
world in which no one can make even ordinary motions that
are not tracked and watched and catalogued by some shadowy
"Big Brother" government. What those writers could not have
known is how or why such an intrusive monster would manifest
itself into our American society without so much as a blink
from most of the citizenry.
The Bush administration now brings the second half of its
tenure to a thunderous applause of flag waving patriotism
with the unveiling of the "Total Information Awareness"
program. This wonderful new product line will undoubtedly
become a household name in a very short while with its astounding
powers to snoop and pry into the most mundane of corners.
Santa's list merely consisted of whether you were naughty
or nice, but John Poindexter wants his list to have
all of the details.
Details from all of your communications (telephone calls,
emails and internet web searches), banking, credit card purchases,
prescriptions, gun purchases, fertilizer purchases, fuel purchases,
school records, medical records, travel history and driver's
license applications will be catalogued and available to government
officials and be placed in a supercomputer data bank for analysis
and threat assessment purposes.
Will Act II be for the Internal Revenue Service to be placed
in the loop for "investigative" purposes also? Will Act III
be for the continued privatization of our government and the
placement of well-positioned corporations into the loop to
better "market" and put their "new" products into your homes?
Even those of you that read these words and believe that
our government has the right to remove your privacy and open
your curtains and peer into your home and personal activities
should take heed. I was raised with the words of my parents
ringing in my ears: "You should live your life as though any
moment of it could be printed on the front page of newspaper."
Well, thus far my life has not drawn that type of attention,
but why would I want anyone knowing all of my habits?
Gone are the carefree days when a search warrant was a necessary
invitation for the police to come into your home. I have bid
farewell to the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights! With
a longing look over my shoulder at the past and future as
we knew it, I must bravely understand that all my words of
dissent may become fodder for the "data analysts" that will
then piece together my grocery habits and attempt to discern
my allegiance to the new Fuhrer, George Bush.
I am certain that many of you reading my words today will
think that I have gone over the top. I could only wish that
were so. Our new "Big Brother" comes complete with one of
the spookiest of the Iran-Contra spooks at its head: John
Poindexter. For those with short memories, I can only say
that our nation's inability to learn from its own history
has doomed us to repeat our worst mistakes. The Reagan Era
White House email problems began with the Iran Contra scandal
and the fact that shortly before hearings on the scandal were
to begin, two figures at the center of the scandal, North
and Admiral John Poindexter, secretly deleted thousands of
email messages related to the scandal. A backup taping system
saved the messages and more than seven million others created
during the Reagan presidency. John Poindexter was tried and
found guilty of lying to Congress and was subsequently released
from prison on a legal technicality.
I cannot trust the current administration to safeguard our
Constitution and am witnessing the savaging of our Bill of
Rights. I can only ask that you, my fellow citizens, take
heed and bear witness, to speak out through all of our differences
and help stop the madness.