I know I generally write about the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, clergy sexual abuse and horror movies. Which are oddly connected. Today I’m writing about our own American Horror Story. And not the TV show.
I read Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s Men” when I was 14 years old, in 1974. It shaped how I viewed our country politically for the rest of my life. It was one of the most important books I’ve read as a young American.
40 years later I’m reading a book of equal importance. And far more frightening. To say something is Orwellian has become cliche. But it certainly applies to the US government since the attack on September 11th.
Glenn Greenwald’s “No Place To Hide” tells the story of how he broke the story of the surveillance state via the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden. Acts that violate every aspect of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution with impunity. Our government is doing to us exactly what the British Government did during the revolution, searching homes and property at will, which prompted the writing the 4th amendment in the first place.
You remember, you read the Bill of Rights in 4th grade.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The Bill of Rights was put in place in order for the government to recognize our natural rights. Rights that can not be taken away or transfered. You know, inalienable and all that. It seems to be that more and more have come to believe that the government gives our rights to us, and can therefore take them away. By definition they can’t be taken away. Even if you’re not an American. Whoa! That’s a post for another time.
At first glance one would think both books have a lot in common. The opposite is true. In “All The President’s Men”, crimes were committed, the main stream media reported it and people went to jail. Ultimately it cause President Nixon to resign from office. Our system worked. Sort of.
Today the paranoia of Nixon has become institutionalized by the Bush and Obama administrations and is now policy that views every American citizen a suspect. Even I don’t do that. I only view Catholics that way.
And the mainstream media is complicit. It appears it is common practice to get the governments permission to run a story. Huh? George Orwell’s “1984” was off by 30 years. Not that he was actually predicting anything. He did write fiction.
I won’t get into the details of Greenwald’s book. Someone will just delete it anyway.
So turn off your computer and read “No Where to Hide” on the beach this summer. You may never turn your computer back on afterward.
PS: Buy it in a bricks and mortar bookstore. And use cash…