To do today:
1. Walk the dog
2. Weed the garden
3. Save democracy in the U.S.A.
Democracy cannot survive in a country where the right of people to live in privacy is not respected. When people reasonably suspect that their own government is seizing personal information that reveals their political activities and ideological affiliations, they will come to fear involvement in the political process. If people know that their communications are being monitored by government spies, they will worry that activism for unpopular causes or for organizations that oppose government policies may be punished. In such situations, people will begin to self-censor, to withdraw from the processes of citizenship that keep democracy alive. Even when elections continue, full citizen participation in elections will not. Democracy in form will persist, but as an empty shell.
This is the danger that we are faced with in the United States of America today. We have learned this summer that military spies at the National Security Agency are collecting both content and metadata of Americans’ telephone calls, emails and Internet activity. At the same time, the FBI is spying on us with drone aircraft overhead, and law enforcement networks are tracking where we drive using cameras that record our license plate numbers.
We are one nation, under surveillance.
Today, in 20 cities across the country, people are protesting the ominous growth of an American surveillance state. The demonstrators are calling it 1984 Day – after the novel by George Orwell in which Big Brother maintains autocratic power through they creation of a system of ubiquitous surveillance.
Most of these protests will begin just a few hours from now.
Will you participate?