Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Civil Discourse

Michael Crowley at Time points to three headlines that leave the ACLU and, frankly, a lot of people, unhappy with the Obama administration on issues that involve privacy and civil liberties.

1. “U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet”

2. “Money Transfers Could Face Anti-Terrorism Scrutiny”

3. “Critics Balk at Obama’s Justification for Killing American Terrorist”

Anyone who thinks that there aren’t bad people out there with malicious intent is fooling themselves, and Mr. Crowley makes the point that the president, knowing he’s perceived by both critics at home and enemies planning attacks as a weak-willed fighter, has to be a extra vigilant. It’s ugly, and it’s not what this country stands for, and it’s the wrong reason to push them. But as someone who knows a little something about the business once told me, there are people who work for our government and our interests who do things you really don’t want to know about but keep us safe. I have to take his word for it, because, as Glenn Greenwald notes, it’s not our goal in life to emulate some of the worst excesses of dictators.

We know this stuff goes on regardless of who’s in the White House. We’ve known this has been going on in some form or another since the founding of the nation; indeed, throughout history. I think we all would just rather not know about it so we can spend our time wondering what’s in the next clip of Christine O’Donnell that Bill Maher will pull out next Friday night.