“We do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it’s your fear that will destroy you.” Changeling (As O’Brien) from the Dominion to Captain Sisko (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Paradise Lost)
I have had a pretty uneventful weekend. I had to cancel my trip north to see Judy due to Tropical Storm Andrea and a fairly eventful day at work on Friday. I was also very tired having not slept well a number of nights during the week due to so pretty strange dreams and nightmares that appear in HD now thanks to PTSD. I am wondering why I am experiencing these dreams. Perhaps it is because of how unsettled I am regarding the various controversies going on regarding our freedom and national security as well as things going in the world and the real possibility that no matter how hard we try that we could become embroiled in yet another Middle Eastern War.
As a result I mostly caught up on laundry and other routine stuff around the house, slept a lot, listened to a 1972 edition of American Top 40, watched some DVD movies including Nuremberg about the Nuremberg trails starring Alec Baldwin and Christopher Plummer and Conspiracy about the Wansee Conference where the Nazis engineered the details of the final solution and engaged almost every section of government and industry into the Final Solution. I also watched Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. In addition it was a weekend to appreciate my dog Molly who has been incredibly sweet and affectionate this week. She must know that I have been unsettled in my sleep.
While I was doing these things I was thinking about some of the things going on in the country and especially about the revelations and leaks of top secret materials regarding the activities of the National Security Agency. It has been interesting to me to watch people who gave President Bush and Congress a pass on the Patriot Act bash President Obama and others who bashed Bush give Obama a pass. Of course there have been some civil libertarians, mostly liberals and some libertarians who objected to the Patriot Act and its potential threats to First and Fourth Amendment freedoms who have criticized both the Bush and Obama administrations as well as Congress. It is interesting that the journalist who published the leaked information, Glen Greenwald has been an opponent of the Patriot Act since its inception in 2001 and critical of both the Bush and Obama administrations in their use of it. At least he is consistent.
I have found this fascinating to watch because there are arguments on both sides that have merit. Unfortunately most pundits, politicians and politically minded preachers, the Unholy Trinity don’t see the complexity of the issues involved nor do they adequately understand the potential dangers represented on both sides of the issue. Benjamin Franklin’s saying that “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” is something to keep in mind.
There are a huge amount of issues to be concerned with, I think in large part because our leaders and let us admit it we ourselves have not thought through the implications of things that we legislate. Since the vast majority of our legislators never read all or even the most critical parts of any legislation that they vote for this should be expected. Likewise the vast bulk of the population is too busy either working or entertaining themselves in virtual worlds made possible by vast technological advances in phones, computers and social networks to bother with such issues until they hit the news cycle. Unfortunately the fact of the matter is that once this has blown over, unless we stop and as a society really examine the issues, hold our legislators feet to the fire and stop being content with answers that are simply designed to help our political parties and causes that some cosmetic changes will be made and nothing significant accomplished.
I also thought of a couple of episodes of Star Trek Deep Space Nine that I watched a couple of weeks ago from Season 4 when shape shifters from the Dominion begin to launch terrorist attacks on Earth and some in Starfleet, and the Federation begin to implement security measures that rapidly erode freedom. The episodes Homefront and Paradise Lost are actually quite timely and since they were aired years before the September 11th 2001 attacks, the passage of the Patriot Act and the beginning of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) could almost be considered prophetic.
I think I am going to write about the current situation at least a couple of times but I will probably use those Deep Space Nine episodes as my starting point. Sometimes the stories of fiction or science fiction can shed light on issues that our politicians, pundits and preachers are too blind, inept or conceited to honestly examine.