Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mr. President, I Plead the Fourth

I don't trust you, Mr. President. What's worse is that you don't seem to understand why someone like me doesn't trust you or your cohorts in the federal government. The fourth amendment. Have you had an opportunity to read it, Mr. President? Knowing how intelligent and well educated you are, I must believe you have read the whole of the Bill of Rights - if only as a result of the past few weeks. But, better to be on the safe side, so I shall list it here for you:

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.

While you've made it impossible to vouch with certainty for all the actions of the whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, all that I do know for certain is that, were it not for him, I wouldn't know of the government's spying on her own citizens. He has been accused of treason, and specifically you accuse him of three felonies. The whole world knows that his revealing of your spying on Americans has created much embarrassment for you and the United States government. But embarrassing the government is not a crime. All he has done is make public that your government is acting against the fourth amendment.

There are allegedly governmental protections for whistle-blowers. Mr. President, you so clearly stated on the Jay Leno show (as if that is a preferred or respectable place to get news) that Snowden could have told appropriate superiors of his concerns. Come on, Mr. President - what do you take us for? He would have told some superior at the NSA and nothing would have been done, except that Snowden would have lost his job ... and a government official may have been assigned to watch his personal activities for the foreseeable future. If Snowden didn't tell us, we wouldn't know what you were up to, and you would be happier in such a parallel universe.

Where am I going with this? Allow me to be frank with you, President Obama - I expect one thing from the President of the United States of America: to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and to protect the rights and property of Americans. You have failed the American people in this. This is not a partisan issue, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent. The American people have a right to privacy.

"The fact that I said that the programs are operating in a way that prevents abuse ... that continues to be true without the reforms. The question is: how do I make the American people more comfortable," President Obama.

Thank you for that clarification, Mr. President. From your vantage point the issue is not that the government is unjustly invading our privacy by collecting phone calls and Internet activity, but how you can help make the American people more comfortable with this unjust invasion into our lives. After all, it's just so-called "meta-data," isn't that right, sir? You're just collecting the data, but not listening to it without a warrant. And that makes it okay, right? Your lack of understanding these simple points staggers me. Why we ought to trust you since you've previously lied about collecting our data, is beyond me.

Suffering long and hard to consider where someone from your intrusive perspective might go next, you might ask of me: "So ... you don't like being spied on? What have you got to hide?"  That's the thing, Mr. President, nothing. I am a law-abiding citizen, who is commanded by Scripture to submit to the governing authorities. I abhor violence, and am utterly opposed to a revolution against the government. "I don't understand - why do you care that we record your phone calls and all possible Internet activity?" the President might ask. That is the great thing about being an American, Mr. President - I have a right to privacy. At least, I used to. I don't want Big Brother - that would be you, Mr. President - to know what I am up to. It is none of your business, plain and simple.

You've argued that intruding into our lives is the best way to protect our liberties.

... [Insert awkward silence HERE] ...

I would respond with this:

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

The boat you have missed, Mr. President, is that I would rather have less safety in exchange for more liberty. My privacy is worth more to me than security. For as much as I value protection against terrorists, a government is also a potential threat that must be restrained to not overstep her bounds. Your government is only one step away from a terrible oppressive state. If you can't see that then I would ask you not to be so naive, Mr. President.

The fourth amendment is under attack, and you put forth your four-step plan for reform. Coincidence? Probably, yes. By the way, your four steps: meaningless fluff. I don't need help to understand why you believe you're right. I will only accept an apology for your unlawful intrusions, and a complete stop to these intrusions.

Praying that you might see the error of your ways, Mr. President,

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