The Mainstreaming of American Paranoia

Since governments first appeared on this planet citizens have worried that they were being spied upon. George Orwell’s book 1984 opened millions of eyes to a fictional dystopia. That world has never seemed so real to so many people. Until now.

In an effort to stay sane we suppressed the concept that our government would watch and listen to all that we do. This coping mechanism has helped to keep us blissfully ignorant. Sometimes we flirt with the idea that we’re being watched. It seems to be one of our favorite plots for movies and TV. The very idea that we can’t see who watches terrifies and thrills us at the same time. It is truly a post-modern modern illness.

It may not have been until now that the majority – aka “the mainstream” – of American citizens actually believe they are being spied upon. It is no longer just the hobby of tin foil hat wearing nuts. Nor is it the sole literary domain of so called mad geniuses like Philp K. Dick or Franz Kafka.

How did this come about? Why did it take so long for us the care en mass? Will we do something about it? What can you do to increase privacy in your life? What about the Internet? How do we retain our privacy there?

Right now, in the year 2006, President Bush has admitted that he approved clandestine spying on American citizens. Bush has claimed “if you’re talking to a member of al Qaeda, we want to know why.” Most Americans don’t care if the government spies on terrorist or anyone remotely connected to them. Many of us instinctually do not believe Bush. We know governments and corporations will not stop at spying on terrorist and suspected terrorists alone.

A new story at the Washington Post called “Surveillance Net Yields Few Suspects: NSA’s Hunt for Terrorists Scrutinizes Thousands of Americans, but Most Are Later Cleared” says that the US government with permission from Bush has spied on thousands of US citizens with no connection to terrorism. (That number is only in the few years Bush has been President! It doesn’t seem like a short amount of time I know…)

Intelligence officers who eavesdropped on thousands of Americans in overseas calls under authority from President Bush have dismissed nearly all of them as potential suspects after hearing nothing pertinent to a terrorist threat, according to accounts from current and former government officials and private-sector sources with knowledge of the technologies in use.

Mainstream media (MSM) is more manipulated by government than ever before. So much so we’ve become numb to all their reports. Many of us ignore them outright. But still our unconscious hears it, so we are affected involuntarily. Our absolute trust of all information is gone.

This makes it especially surprising that the MSM would report something so shocking and so damning about the President of the United States. (No prize in investigative journalism is due to the NY Times for breaking this story. They sat on it for months and told the President that they were releasing it to the public. Who knows was removed before we read it?) But is this shocking news enough to finally convince “mainstream” US citizen that they are being spied upon? Will we ALL finally question the elected officials we voted for long enough to put an end to illegal spying by any government or corporation?