I go on line and check out the major newspaper headlines, and to my delight there is a TSA-related headline or two in every one.
In the last few days two in every three e-mails I’ve received (and I receive hundreds a day) carry TSA related heads up or action items in their subject lines. The blogosphere has been simmering with the same outrageous issue. Yet the entire thing gives me pause. A long one. The pattern, the order, the intensity, the lingo, the reaction…all remind me of something or some things. It is a bit, maybe more than a bit, like a sense of déjà vu. The feeling that we’ve been here; more than once, actually many times. Make that too many times. I keep thinking of a yoyo. In fact, I can’t get the image of a yoyo out of my head. I am asking myself, and you, the following question: Are we Americans exhibiting yoyo-like and short-lived reactions? In short-lived jerky motions?
Let’s step back for a second and take a look at this consistent pattern:
NSA illegal wiretapping of American citizens is exposed. We, some of us, are outraged. We can’t stop reading about it. We write about, talk about it, and blog about it nonstop. For a while. The media waits a little, then takes the cue, decides to ride the same wave, however selectively and reluctantly. For a while. The Congress follows the fashion. They are into fashion. They wear this particular fashion like a Halloween costume, over the top of their usual long-term clothing, with every intention of shedding it off at the end of the parade, as soon as it is announced out-of-fashion.
Within a few weeks the media goes back to ‘normal,’ and acts as if ‘it’ never happened, or, it happened but no longer carries newsworthiness since ‘it’ has become another ordinary fact of life to live with and forget it is even there. The Congress likes to remain fashionable. When the media stops, the costume is out-of-fashion; to be discarded. Their usual clothing underneath are ‘classics,’ politically that is, the kind that never go out of fashion, politically, that is. So they go back to the good old classics until the next fashion trend breaks in the news. During this phase, we the people gradually stop reading, talking, writing, and blogging about ‘it.’ We are exhausted from over-excitement. Frankly, we are bored with the topic. For weeks we all had run in the same direction; fast and furious. Everyone within our circle had covered the same ‘topic,’ and the topic started getting too familiar, too common, too ordinary, too tedious and too massive to go against. All in a very short time, but nonetheless.
…and this when the next ‘scandalous’ issue hits. Hooray! We have another scandal and another cause; another outrage. Maybe it is torture, and thousands of documented pictures and reports to go along with it; all committed in our name and with our money. Maybe it is the FBI raiding peaceful protestors’ homes for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Maybe it is major intentional falsifications of facts to drag us all into another war, where we spend billions, kill, and get killed for some made-up cause enriching a few cause-makers. Maybe it is the TSA fondling, groping, and pretty much raping we the people on a daily basis for some made-up, perceived security.
No matter what the ‘current,’ or, ‘fashionable,’ or ‘newsworthy’ cause, scandal, or issue, we run back and forth like yoyos, run towards the ‘new cause,’ hold on to it for a short-while, repeat the above steps with the media taking up the trend and Congress sporting the fashion, blogs fuming collectively… basically going around the same circle, completing the same short-lived cycle, then eventually we retreat, and after that, another case of major violation or abuse breaks or gains momentum, we run towards it, pose to confront and challenge it, write-talk-blog about it…
You do see the yoyo I am talking about here, don’t you? What happened to our outrage, a handful of posturing lawsuits, and relentless pledges declared in the face of being illegally wiretapped and spied upon? How long has it been since we found out and became outraged, signed on to hundreds of petitions against it, bombarded the ‘fashionable’ representatives with mails-e-mails and calls? How long has it been since we’ve seen it covered in bold by our media? How long has it been since we’ve heard it discussed or even referred to by those elected as ‘an issue’ or ‘problem’? Here is the most important question of all:
How long has it been since we have either acknowledged or consciously thought about the fact that we are actively, unconstitutionally, and belligerently under surveillance by our government and their plentiful contractors and collaborators?
Please don’t take me wrong. I stand by my word in the introduction section of this article. I am truly delighted by what I see in terms of movements in reaction to TSA’s raping of our rights and dignity. It is just that I see this particular abuse-violation as one of many symptoms of our broken system, suspended Constitution, and a corrupt and abusive system of No-Checks & Many-Imbalances. The real diseases are not getting much, if any, attention. And we the people seem to be inflicted by a chronic case of a symptoms-chasing yoyo syndrome. It is way past time to look to curing and rehabilitating ourselves from this freedom-threatening syndrome, and go after the real diseases and causes.
# # # #
This article was originally published at Boiling Frogs Post.
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and publisher of Boiling Frogs Post, an online news, analysis, and weekly Podcast interview site covering select but significant blacked out stories and issues. Ms. Edmonds is also the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, NSWBC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy”. She is also the recipient of the 2004 Sam Adams Foundation Award. Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. She is certified as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and as an instructor for the Women’s Domestic Violence Program. She is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani.
She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification, and has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The American Conservative, and others.