We have met the enemy and he is us – Pogo
In a move surprising no one, the military judge presiding over the trial of whistleblower and nude sleep enthusiast Pfc. Bradley Manning decided to maintain the charge of "aiding the enemy" yesterday, ensuring the possibility of life in prison remains on the table. Patriots defend this charge by pointing out that before his death Osama Bin Laden was highly interested in the material leaked by Private Manning. This informally shared informtion, the prosecution holds, is tantamount criminal collaboration and puts our ever-fragile national security at risk. However, beyond the hovering menace of Al Qaida there is another, far graver threat to this fine nation: the American Public.
As revelations continue to emerge about the creeping powers of the massive surveillance state, one thing has been made perfectly clear: every single citizen of this great nation is viewed a potential terrorist. Anyone can be radicalized and turned against the state to serve the nefarious purposes of the freedom haters out there, just look at the Tsarnaevs– even the boys next door are capable of evil on a massive scale. Given these types of attacks it's easy to understand the government's vigilance. How can we be kept safe if our life histories are not thumbed through to prove we are one of the good guys?
When the destructive reach of zealots extends into our sporting events government adherence to the principle of presumed innocence would be exhibition of naivete. It is behind this rule of law that these fear mongers love to hide. But with the greatest surveillance system in the world, no one can hide from Uncle Sam. Before him, an appeal to privacy sounds like an admission of guilt. Let him judge your internet history and be free. Your penchant for brony erotica is of no concern, fair citizen. So long as the rest of your browsing log is clean, your perversions will remain between you and the technician sifting through your data, and whoever else that data may forwarded to. Complaints about profiling miss the point, the government doesn't do this because it enjoys intercepting your communications like a common stalker, it does so because you deserve it. Or at least you could.
As Americans we share a common original sin, a healthy mistrust of authority, which is ingrained in our national conscious and is the basis of our holy founding documents. And when revelations of massive government overreach stirs the desires of rebellion, I suggest you not take it personally. Turn away from the sin of mistrust and realize it's just your healthy suspicion of the government that tends make the government suspicious of you. So relax, let them check you out, confirm you're not plotting some terribly destructive act and you can be on your way. National security depends on it. And you do love your country, don't you?
In a nation as rife with freedom as these United States, temptation is abound and with the advent of the internet there exists no flaming sword to serve warning in front of the tree of knowledge. For deceitful serpents the web is a perfect venue for them to offer fruit from the forbidden tree, to lure in poor souls and destroy their love of country by revealing classified information. Snakes like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – the Unholy Trinity– offer knowledge without discretion or context, failing to understand that some secrets are kept for the greater good. The promise of such knowledge is tantalizing, but be still, and know the government has kept those secrets to protect you. The NSA is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Every American will have to struggle with sin, and triumph is by no means assured. But even when the situation is bleak know that it exists within all of us to succeed – just as John Steinbeck so beautifully explained East of Eden, "timshel-you may overcome sin" Despite being born with this exceptional burden of Americanism, there exists within each of us the ability overcome any temptation. And even if we don't stop the devil at our door, that's why the government tracks our every move so when we falter Uncle Sam will right be there with salvation and a feeding tube, all lubed up for us down in Guantanamo Bay. Hallelujah!