Alameda Times Star
RE: Big Brother is watching
Wed Dec 28, 2005 01:27

Big Brother is watching

*Alameda Times Star | December 23

IT took 21 years longer than expected, but the future has finally arrived.
And we don't like it. Not one bit.

We are fighting a war with no end to create a peace with no defined victory.

We occupy a foreign land that doesn't want us, while at home our civil
liberties are discounted.

We are told that it's better not to know what our government is doing in our
name, for security purposes. Meanwhile, our government is becoming
omnipresent, spying on us whenever it deems it necessary.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

George Orwell was right after all.

In 1949, Orwell penned "1984," a dark, futuristic satire in which the
totalitarian government used indoctrination, propaganda and fear to enforce
order and conformity. His "Big Brother" — the face of this all-knowing
regime — was never wrong, and to make sure of it, history was constantly
being rewritten.

Orwell wrote his book as a cautionary tale to underscore the insidious
danger of slowly eroded individual liberties. His Thought Police may not yet
be on the march, but it's not hyperbole to point out the eerie parallels
with today's America.

In America today, Big Brother is watching.

He's watching because President Bush told him to. Shortly after 9/11, Bush
secretly authorized warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens making or
receiving international calls and e-mails.

When it comes to fighting terror, Bush is totalitarian — remember, you're
either with us or against us. Trust me to get it right, he says. Debate on
the law is not only not needed, it's evil.

"An open debate about the law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're
going to do.'" Bush said recently. "The fact that we're discussing this
program is helping the enemy."

Then there's the Patriot Act, also created in the days immediately after
Sept. 11, 2001. The Senate and House of Representatives voted Thursday to
extend the law by a month. President Bush and Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales insist it's an indispensable tool in the war on terror and want it
extended permanently.

"I'm as concerned about the privacy of American citizens as anyone, but we
cannot allow libraries and use of libraries to become safe havens for
terrorists," Gonzales said in July, defending one of the act's most
controversial provisions.

Remember, too, that we invaded Iraq primarily because we were told Saddam
Hussein was an immediate threat with his weapons of mass destruction. Now
the Bush administration acknowledges that wasn't so, but insists there were
(are?) other reasons to invade. History is malleable.

Orwell wrote of war without end; we're told the war on terror will last
decades at least. Orwell wrote of a dumbed-down "Newspeak," and who could
argue that our national discourse hasn't slumped? Orwell's "Ministry of
Love" tortured dissidents real or imagined; our government decries Iraq's
secret torture prisons while arguing over whether to ban torture. Meanwhile,
we maintain our own secret CIA prisons.

Bush is unapologetic. The president believes he has the legal authority to
spy on American citizens without a warrant, and he plans to continue to
reauthorize the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing
threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens." But when the enemy
is poorly defined, who determines when the threat is over? In this case, the
same government that secretly taps our phones.

Turns out the truth is no stranger than fiction.

We think it's time for Congress to heed the warning of George Orwell.

To that end, we're asking for your help: Mail us or drop off your tattered
copies of "1984." When we get 537 of them, we'll send them to every member
of the House of Representatives and Senate and to President Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney.

Feel free to inscribe the book with a note, reminding these fine people that
we Americans take the threat to our liberties seriously. Remind Congress
that it makes no sense to fight a war for democracy in a foreign land while
allowing our democratic principles to erode at home.

Remind President Bush that ours is a country of checks and balances, not
unbridled power.

Perhaps our nation's leaders can find some truth in this fiction and more
carefully ponder the road we're traveling.

Bring or mail your books to the Oakland Tribune, 401 13th St., Oakland CA
94612. Doors are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You have requested the file AudioBooks_GeorgeOrwell_-_1984__Full___Share_Me_.mp3 (26243072 Bytes).

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