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What value is the Constitution?

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Published on: Thursday, June 13, 2013

By Brian J. Karem

The latest news about the National Security Agency, its ability to tap all of your phone records and a whistle blowing contract worker who brought the issue to light is certainly gathering a lot of headlines this week, and as I fear many are missing the point.

The Obama administration is being sued for this indiscretion while everyone seems to be arguing over whether or not Edward Snowden, the whistle blower, should be vilified, beaten or made the new Pope. Oh and sales of the novel “1984” have reached new heights.

Some of the criticism against Snowden and the government’s answer to its own nefarious actions is curious and worthy of a logical inspection.

In defending the government’s actions I’ve often heard the argument that if you’re innocent of anything guilty then why would you be worried about the government getting your information?

Well, okay, I’ve always said if someone wanted to bore themselves to death they can go through all of my phone records. But let’s reverse that. Logically, isn’t what’s good for the goose therefore good for the gander?

Should not the federal government be required to be as open and transparent as it is requesting the rest of us to be?

Inquiring minds want to know.

As for Snowden, there are those who are calling him a traitor and I’m sorry I cannot follow anyone into that rabbit hole. He is being called arrogant, dangerous and giving “aid and comfort to the enemy.”

Well if the enemy is democracy, then I guess so, but the real enemy appears to be our own government – a government of, by and for the people, but one showing less and less respect for people.

The current Obama administration is certainly at fault for this fiasco, but so is the administration of George Bush under whose watch the so-called “Patriot Act” was passed.

Truth be told many in congress never even read the act before passing it, and for years activists have warned against the more disgusting aspects of the act. Now the chickens, stripped of their feathers, are coming home to roost and it’s a bit funny watching congressmen downtown twist in the breeze as they alternately defend and defecate on the Patriot Act.

Those who get their heretofore stripped red, white and blue feathers ruffled about Snowden’s motives in releasing the information or describing him as an arrogant young man or a traitor, not only miss the point, but they don’t even understand the argument.

Is the information Snowden provided accurate? Then I don’t care what his personal motives are, and I don’t care if you think him arrogant. He did what he did for his own reasons. The only reason that matters to the rest of us, and the only one we can consider is what light does this information shed on the workings of our government?

I’ve worked with many whistle blowers over the  years and they all have axes to grind and at the end of the day the only logical evaluation I can offer is in whether or not the evidence they present is worthy of providing to the public.

Your government is spying on you. The evidence provided logically shows this to be true and statements by the NSA further back such a claim.

If that doesn’t bother you, then I don’t know what country you believe in. It used to be the Soviet Union, but it doesn’t exist any more.

In this country we are systematically deconstructing the Constitution amendment by amendment. In the last few months the First, Second, and the Fourth amendments have all been assaulted in crude, vulgar and insulting manners.

People are knee-jerk reacting to these events as they want to still believe in their government. That is understandable. I want to believe in my government. I still believe the “idea” of the United States is the best idea ever presented for self-government. But between the idea and the reality falls the shadow.

Or, if you prefer, the appearance does not match the reality and I want the government of our Revolution. Those who are upset this information has come forward should rethink what is the greater good and what is the more criminal act – destroying your rights or shedding light on the destruction.

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