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Lorraine Roe Headshot

The War Within: Time for Action

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I'm not sure I've read more outrage in comments lately than I've seen recently following the revelation of our NSA spying on us, potentially helped by corporate co-operation. Our country was raised with the notion of separation of church and state, but it has been dangerously barreling down the road of a merge between corporations and government.

When I worked as a reporter, we were taught that we could do drive-alongs with deputies and police officers, but that we had to also keep professional objectivity, because it was still our obligation to seek the truth and report if fairly. Without that separation, there is loss of objectivity and watch dogs turn into lap dogs. At this point our federal government is so far in bed with communications corporations there is no one left to watch the store. Nevermind that there has been an obscene lack of regulation and oversight of the burgeoning cell phone industry. Stories over the years include no recourse for immense cell phone bills generated by thieves, then charged onto the customer who's phone was stolen, shady taxation fees that are never forwarded to the entities allegedly slapping customers with the tax, and now this. We foot the bill at both ends, so the phone companies can keep tabs on us and the tax-funded NSA employees can sift through our data.

What happened in the past decade? Did we go to sleep? Are we truly powerless? Speaking for myself, I still vote and I still track policy debacles and lend my voice to the debate. But have I picked up the phone to my congressman in the last five years? Have I called this week to complain to my cell-phone company Verizon? Have I written a check to the A.C.L.U. (American Civil Liberties Union)? No, I have not. I have been car pooling. I have been cooking dinner, cleaning the house, and writing. I forgot something I knew when I worked as a reporter; that any and every small action for integrity matters, no matter how big the organization. And it matters especially now, as my two teenage children get ready to leave the nest and my youngest wants to know more about how our government works.

This week I have realized we are at war. It is a war within. Our own government keeps so many secrets, that are so heavily funded by our paychecks, it is mind-boggling. Regular working people gave their paychecks to save the banks that were to big to fail, lost their homes to those same banks, and voted into office an administration who might be spying on them. We are a bigger people than this. Why are the actions coming from the White House indicative of a government that doesn't trust and respect its own people? Isn't it overwhelmingly clear that we now have a majority of people that realize our federal government can't be trusted with our individual rights, paychecks, and homes?

I guess the good news is that I've been irrevocably shocked into action. I guess I've had my own internal war within. I've struggled to take all of this seriously enough to take tangible action. I've hoped for the best from our government and corporate leaders. Now I'm awake! For the sake of my children, for the sake of my country, for the sake of my integrity, I'm taking action. There are
535 voting members in Congress and one main man in the White House. There are 300 million Americans. If only half of us took action, something would change, it would have too.

Here's one American picking up the phone. I realize that when I call on my Verizon cell-phone, someone may be listening in on the conversation without my consent. That's exactly why it's time for action.