Liberty Dies By Inches

The NDAA, NSA controversy, Miranda being gutted, and more than a few other events the last couple years have all been worrisome. We seem ever more willing to sacrifice our privacy so long as the guys we like are sitting in the White House. The party faithful never seem to realize that eventually their team will not always be in the Oval Office. None of that bothers me half as much as how we do not seem to realize we are slowly being programmed to accept it.

I finally got around to watching the CBS show Person of Interest. Actually I am watching it now. I never really paid it any heed. It just seemed like another action/mystery show. I know you really should not judge a book by its cover or a show by its intro but I have to say, that intro chilled me. The non-chalant way it speaks of the ultimate surveillance device is upsetting. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I do not think so.

It is not a new idea, that they use television to program us. They get us cheering for adventurist wars. They get us not to blink about an increasingly militarized police force, and in fact get us to think it is “cool.” They define normal for us in our clothing, our hairstyles, our slang, and what is acceptable for the government to do.

I understand that the premiss is that these men are rogue, which frankly is not very comforting but I suppose looks better than “Big Brother” as we have been trained to recognize him. The thing is, it plants a seed that it is OK to have someone watching us every moment of every day wherever we go. Just as decades of us or them stories touting American exceptionalism has made us comfortable with our troops being used to secure private interests assets overseas (and yes, I know most Americans are against it, but not enough that are motivated to make their voices heard) shows like this make it more likely we will be willing to accept our every move being watched.

Maybe I am tilting at windmills, it has been known to happen. I also do not want to see any show censored. It goes against the grain for me. I do believe, however, that we need to have these conversations. I think we need to remember how we can be influenced by their programing. Just knowing is armor itself, and sharing that knowledge improves our armor and shares it. Not just with this show either, but with all of them. We need to talk about how the media we consume affect us, otherwise those liberties we value so much aren’t worth a damn. What’s the point of being free, after all, if we just jump through hoops like well-trained circus animals?

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