This Week's Poll from the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking!
All around the planet, people are wigging out! They're shocked! Shocked to discover how much the U.S. government knows about them.
Obama is reading my email! The U.S. is hacking our computers! The cops are collecting my DNA!
"Obama is becoming the next Nixon," breathlessly tweeted actor John Cusack, one of many in Hollywood turning on the president. Meanwhile, the Germans are comparing us to Nazi police and the Chinese are watching this debacle unfold and laughing their asses off.
Americans in particular are just frightened and angry. So how are we responding? We're reading 1984! George Orwell's dystopian classic, published over 60 years ago, has seen sales on Amazon skyrocket 5000 percent this week.
But why? Are these readers hoping to find out if things today are really as bad as Orwell foretold? Do they want to know if it has a happy ending? Or are they already expecting the worst and simply want a roadmap for an orderly transition? Are things really as bad as all that?
"No one is listening to your telephone calls," President Obama tried to assure us. What the government is doing, he said, is seeing who you call, and how long you talk. (Funny, though: we don't remember a part of Orwell's story where Big Brother gently tweaks someone for hanging up on his cranky Aunt Rita too quickly.)
Benjamin Franklin stated: "Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security." But government seems to be telling us it's impossible to have both privacy and security in today's world. Obama wants us to know that all this spying prevented terrorists from attacking us, and wants us to remember that it's overseen by "all three branches of government" and a special (secret) court. Trust me, he says.
So Big Brother is just something we're going to have to get used to? With all those government eyes watching us, are we just going to have to be more wary of autocorrect the next time we search Google for a good "ricin beans" recipe?
No! This is America, and Americans roll up their sleeves and take action! When people find out how Orwell's dystopian novel ends, they're going to do something about all this -- before it's too late! What will that be? What do YOU think?
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