The NSA and political disillusionment

can-you-hear-me-NSANothing, and I mean nothing, has upset me more than the Snowden revelations.

In my social circle, I am usually the one arguing for a role for government, pushing back against my friends’ political cynicism and asserting that unless one participates there’s no hope of anything getting better.

I was also a real fan of President Obama. I admired his efforts in 2009 to save us from economic Armageddon. I believe that ObamaCare will work and is the best we can get in a system in which the freakin’ insurance companies have to take home big pieces of the bacon. And, while it doesn’t go far enough IMO, the Dodd-Frank law does at least try to control the greed and malfeasance of the punters in the Wall Street cesspool.

But Pres. Obama was a lecturer in constitutional law. He, more than anyone, should have understood the implications of the NSA programs, the wrongness of using a secret process to legitimize the programs and the fear that the government could (and probably will) use the data to construct a case against people it would never otherwise be able to build a case against. In short, these programs can make us all guilty of something — and the federal government gets to decide what it is we’ve done.

So, I’ve been in a funk. Overnight, I went from someone aghast at the vitriol from the right and its insistence on dismantlement to a disappointed liberal who now finds himself in agreement, at least on this topic, with Senator Rand Paul. How, I keep asking myself, could an administration with these credentials allow this to happen? Isn’t the president aware of what The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest calls “Secret America?” Isn’t it obvious that the government, once wound up and fully funded to violate constitutional rights, would do such a superior job of it? (The excellence of the government’s efforts here seems to be lost on those who think it can’t achieve anything.)

And that funky disappointment has, for the first time, made me less angry with The Wall Street Journal. More intolerant of those for whom no tax increase is too much. Much more concerned that, at its heart, the federal government is too distant and too imperious to protect constitutional rights.

I wonder if this is my new, permanent weltanschauung or if it’s a passing thing. I’ve always been patriotic (live overseas — anywhere overseas — and see when you come back if don’t think this isn’t the best place on earth, despite our challenges). But as a result of the government’s trashing of the Bill of Rights, I worry I might never again trust the federal government.

<nsa metadata tags>
<.collect on>
<.this guy doesn't like what we've done=flag all his communications>
<.hasn't he done SOMETHING we can persecute him for?>
<.send to IRS>
</nsa metadata tags>







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