I have my MS Explorer home page set to a Google search of the text of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights. In the search box I typed “Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure ...” the whole short, elegant little graf that protects the American people from unreasonable searches and seizures by their own government.
I did the search, then set it as my Explorer home page. Now, each time I open a new browser, it shows a Google page full of search results for the Fourth Amendment, each one of them starting with those words.
I set it up that way back in December 2005, when the story about the NSA wiretapping of Americans first broke in the New York Times.
I wish I could say I thought of it myself, but I’m not that clever. I got the idea from another blogger who, I’m sorry, I cannot give proper credit to now because I don’t recall who it was. Thank you, whoever you are.
The idea resonated for me. Now, when Codpiece’s orcs check my personal Internet use, they’ll be bombarded with a many-times-daily look at the Constitutional law they’re breaking with such casual, criminal disregard.
Yeah, it’s a small thing. A tiny thumb-your-nose at Authority. In fact, it’s very like that hilarious old cartoon of the mouse giving the finger to the eagle that’s swooping down, huge talons open to scoop him up. “The Last Great Act of Defiance,” were the words scrawled across the bottom of that much photocopied cartoon.
“The Last Great Act of Defiance.”
I was a kid during the 60s. My teen-age years were in the 70s, when the Age of Aquarius was fading into the Age of Consumerism. The Vietnam War had ended, the soldiers were all brought home, Nixon had resigned in disgrace, and the FISA act was brought into being, further protecting you and me from secret government searches of our personal lives. Woodward and Bernstein were part of the mainstream and no one knew who Deep Throat was.
Like any dufus kid, I didn’t understand the significance of all that until many, many years later. In regards to the Fourth, my understanding bloomed only just recently.
Having my browser window open to a search of the Fourth means that not only are the orcs reminded of the law they’re breaking, I am too. Many times a day.
I was a hippie for a few short years after high school, about 10 years after the real hippies were in their heyday protesting injustice and war and advocating peace and love. By the time I started wearing my hair long and straight, donning flowy shirts made of Indian gauze from Cost Plus and going defiantly braless, the hippies I was trying to emulate had already discovered the joys of business school, mortgages and Cuisinarts. I held out for a while, but the bloom was off the rose and I’d never been particularly good at defying authority, anyway. I wanted to travel, to get away from the town I’d grown up in and away from the protective, stifling wing of my family.
So I joined the Air Force.
It’s always been extremes for me.
I remained, however, a liberal to my toes. I joined up for selfish reasons, wanting the steady paycheck and hoping to travel, but I also did it for my country and to honor my Dad, who was a Marine. He’d served in Korea, and when he came back to the states, he got his degree on the GI Bill and became a successful businessman, a CPA. He was modestly proud of his accomplishments, and so was I.
Dad was very conservative, his view of the world as different from mine as night and day. He’d had no sons, but I was a feminist and saw no reason at all that I couldn’t join the military and make him proud the same way a son might have. I’ll never really know if I succeeded, but I tried.
He rarely talked about his time in Korea as I was growing up; in fact, it wasn’t until just after his death last year that I learned about his experiences there. He’d written a short, two-page account of his life on his home computer, and we found it as we were frantically trying to get his affairs in order.
I don’t know what Dad would think of the current NSA wiretapping. In the last years of his life, he’d grown even more conservative, deeply influenced by the propaganda FOX News blared from the three televisions in his house that were switched on, the sound turned way up to accommodate his failing hearing, 24 hours a day. His hatred of Bill Clinton was almost physically painful – a condition I share these days in regards to Codpiece, so I understand it much better now than I did then. Dad was a far-right Republican, a Bush supporter, a supporter of the war in Afghanistan (we were basically on the same page there) and of the war in Iraq (we were on vastly different pages regarding that war – different books, in fact). Family get-togethers in the last years of his life were happy events until politics came up as the dinner table was being cleared. Neither he or I was able to avoid the subject. Diametrically opposed, we both loved a good, reasoned argument. Still, it was becoming increasingly hard for either of us to agree to disagree.
But even with our differing views, I’d like to think that the current, deeply dishonorable NSA wiretapping of Americans by their own government on the pretext of the "war on terror" would appall him. Dad was a good, honorable man, and he tried to teach me what honor meant as I was growing up.
I think he succeeded. Thanks, Dad. I love you.