Sources and Methods…

It’s late, and I have to be up in 5.5 hours, but I can’t sleep for some reason so, here goes.

Remember a couple of years ago when the phrase “sources and methods” was in vogue? Mostly it concerned intelligence techniques, and revolved around how secretive everything had to be because if the terrorists ever found out how we haven’t found them, they would change their tactics. Since the main thrust of the Administration’s recent terrorist fighting techniques has concentrated on stateside threats, I guess the phrase has been shelved. In any case, it needs to be thought about, because it wasn’t thought about at the time.

If these “sources and methods” include spying on people stateside with little reason, via satellite or network (including phone) protocols that fall outside the law, or worse, in the grey area, as it seems to be, then how can we be the Reaganesque notion of the “shining city on the hill”? I mean, wouldn’t all that shiny screw up the satellite surveillance?

Seriously though, let’s think about this. For 30 bucks I can find out things about you that your mother doesn’t know. For $70, I can find out things that only you, your doctor, and your accountant know and perhaps some things you forgot. For $150, I can find out everything but what you ate last night, and I’d just as soon ask you that.

So if I can find all of this out, what’s to stop the government? They have the resources, they have the time, they have the manpower…what’s to stop them? 7 years ago I would have said the Constitution, but since the current administration uses it as a means to wipe the chicken grease off of their grimy little paws, I’m not so sure.

America has a lot of questions to ask itself in the next 14 months. We have to decide who we want to be.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Lafayette back in 1815 wrote this:

More than a generation will be requisite [for an unprepared people], under the administration of reasonable laws favoring the progress of knowledge in the general mass of the people, and their habituation to an independent security of person and property, before they will be capable of estimating the value of freedom, and the necessity of a sacred adherence to the principles on which it rests for preservation.

I still don’t think we are “capable of estimating” the “value of freedom and the necessity of a sacred adherence to the principles on which it rests” as a nation. If we were, we wouldn’t be running scared from our Constitution.

Yeah, it’s easy to think that the tide is turning, but I’ll have to agree with the Republican strategists who say that we are one terrorist attack away from their favored brand of “democratic totalitarianism”. We need strength in our resolve. We need comfort in that resolve. Not the resolve of an administration that would take all that we have fought to preserve over the past 200+ years and turn it into a junior varsity Soviet styled fiefdom, but the resolve of a robust nation that recognizes it’s strength in it’s diversity and dissent…a nation that views reasonable privacy as an asset, and does not work to quash it…a nation that holds on high the sound ideals set forth in the Constitution, circumstance be damned.

We’ve become chicken. We can flex our military muscle in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever the hell else we feel like it as much as we want to, but the American public are too chicken to keep the Constitution, the ideals our nation was founded on, from becoming Colonel Sanders next wet-nap.

We’ve lost our faith. We’ve lost our nerve. And the next person who serves as President won’t change that. We have to. So in this national month of media blackout and governmental stagnation, let’s take a moment to put our mythology aside and ask JUST WHO WE ARE as a nation. Until we know who we are, we can never reach or truly achieve that “shining City on the hill” status that would turn our mythology into a reality.

P.S. No George, I don’t hate America, just “your” America.

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