I remember life before TSA very clearly. It was my senior year in high school and my class was headed to the Dominican Republic for a mission/senior trip. For most of us we had never been outside the country before and we were excited. Our parents stood around comforting each other and taking pictures as we increasingly got more and more excited. As we boarded the plane and looked out our windows we could see our parents standing in the terminal waving at us. On our way home no one stopped to confiscate the bag full of knives and machete’s we had bought in the market in Santo Domingo. My kids will never know what that feeling is like. The world they will inherit is paranoid and reactionary. It’s filled with government tracking systems, drones, and body scanners. And none of that will change because no matter how much they complain about it, American’s really don’t want to do anything to fix it.
With the eerie revelations of spying that Edward Snowden revealed to the public this past week, American’s are trying to decide whether to be outraged or not. Some praise him as a hero while others condemn him as a traitor. The problem is that as soon as Kim Kardashian has a baby people will quit caring about how their government spies on them. And just like the anger that came from the introduction of body scanners at airports, it will soon fade into complacency because complaining takes so much less work than action.
Think about all of the things that have made us uncomfortable on our couches, but not nearly uncomfortable enough to actually take action for change. We discovered the president wishes to fly drones over US cities. Apple is tracking us and Google is recording us. We take credit for inspiring the Arab Spring, yet what did our own Occupy Wall Street movement actually accomplish? We have grandma’s getting pat downs and drones flying over US cities. And the few who take a stand in the name of freedom and liberty are either arrested or go into hiding. Even as I write this, I know I must be careful not to use certain words or phrases that would have me spending the night in an FBI holding cell.
I believe that our founding fathers would be sorely disappointed in how apathetic Americans have become. It’s almost comical. A country founded by rebels who wanted to be left alone to live freely is now so comfortable they barely blink an eye when Microsoft, Apple, and Google introduce products that can track every aspect of your life and report it to the government. The world is advancing with technology taking us to places that only science fiction has dreamed of. But with it must come a concentrated effort to be cautiously optimistic of the consequences. If American’s don’t effectively express their opinions and find ways to engage in change, those in leadership will not know what the true heart and mind of the nation is. Decision and action are then skewed toward the minority who actually do more than complain, rather than the vast majority who didn’t feel it was worth turning off Sports Center.
I want to believe that if it came down to a true issue of freedom American’s would react rather than allow personal freedom’s to disappear. What frightens me though is that in the mean time, our complacency allows for those in authority to take action in the pursuit of safety that result in us all being locked in a matrix run by terminators without ever realizing it.