13 May 2006

Hurricane's a-comin'

Trying to get my head around this latest news about the wiretapping. I haven’t said too much about it yet – I’m still getting used to the idea that our government is busily crafting a secret police organ in the basement while we blithely watch American Idol on our new flat-screen teevees.

Did I say wiretapping? I meant spying, excuse me. On us. You, me, and the guy with the gun rack in the back window of his pickup down the street.

Spied on, by our own government. Again. Didn’t we deal with this once already? Hasn’t this very issue nearly torn this country apart before? I remember rather clearly the day Richard Milhouse Nixon resigned his presidency, the day he climbed the steps into Marine One, turned at the door, grinned that Tricky Dick grin and flashed the two-fingered peace sign with both hands. I watched him on television, too teen-aged and self-obsessed to grasp the depth of what was happening, what the wider implications were.

But that two-fisted, forked salute always did strike me as an odd gesture for a man in stupendous public disgrace to make.

Peace sign? Maybe it was really a double V for victory. A signal.

Yes, I think that could be right. Maybe the gesture was directed toward the patient young men who would, one day when we all turned lazy and complacent again, carry on with his legacy.

Rummy? Dick? Step on over, boys. Don’t be shy.

Could it be that Bush is telling the truth when he says he’s only listening in on the bad guys? That he would never, never listen in on, say, my ranting on about the way he’s trashed my country like some jack-ass teen-ager who just got the whole house to himself for the weekend? Nooo. He would never think of listening to your conversations, either.

You have to wonder what Poppy Bush thinks. Does his GI-Joe-dress-up-doll-action-figure son listen in on his mom’s phone conversations when she talks to the Jebster?

Well, I say turnabout’s fair play. If Captain Codpiece and his thugs get to listen in on my phone conversations and read my e-mails (Hey guys? Borrrrring. Try my blog. Lots juicier, and it’s right here for public consumption), then I should get to listen in when he gives his hand-holding friend in Saudi Arabia a jingle. I bet those conversations are real eye-openers. I’d also like to hear what he and Vladi-baby talk about when they think no one else is listening.

I was not always this way. Politics bored me cross-eyed. My mental image of the word was of jowly old men in dark suits, pontificating. Endlessly.

No more. Now I think of sly, stinking foxes. And hen houses.

Let’s peruse the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution again:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Seems perfectly clear to me. The “mining” of American telephone numbers for the sole purpose of eavesdropping, just in case one or two – or a dozen – of those clinkers might be diamonds just doesn’t fit into the intent of that amendment, no matter how I turn it.

Maybe, for now, they won’t bother with the likes of me because I haven’t made any long-distance calls to Iran. Or Pakistan, or Afghanistan. Or France, even. But what if things get so bad for them they decide to silence the dissenters? Suppose they decide that freedom of speech is just not acceptable anymore, since it carries within it barbs that sting and bite? In that case, they’d surely have the information they need to get started with the silencing right away, handy-like. The same way a shovel comes in handy when you have to move a pile of steaming manure. Or bury a body.

The Decider becomes The Silencer.

I’m not having an easy time articulating just how disgusted, how truly uneasy this clandestine spying on Americans by their own government makes me, particularly in light of everything else that's going on. Nor do I like the creeping, insidious fear the whole idea sets loose in my gut, where instinct reigns supreme. I worry, vaguely, about my daughters. What could this mean for their futures? While none of us can foresee everything, it doesn’t take much of a mental leap to see where this is headed unless it’s stopped, dead in its tracks, once and for all.

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