FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

American Narcissism

If you see something, say something. Who isn’t familiar with this slogan, trademarked by New York’s Transportation Authority and licensed to Homeland Security for the government’s rule-by-fear campaign?

Whistleblower Edward Snowden saw something, said something, because what he witnessed and participated in was egregious, a crime against constitutional rights. His goal: to spark a public debate about civil liberties.

He has. Americans are questioning if trading privacy for security is an acceptable bargain, although the spy grip on Verizon accounts, social media sites, etc. has never been about safety, but instead contracts and profit.

Snowden’s revelations, brought to us by journalist Glenn Greenwald, reveal much more than the mining of our phone calls and Internet activity, if that weren’t chilling enough. Really, the NSA’s abuse of power appears limitless.  Both Orwellian actions, “offensive cyberwarfare,” launched against other countries, and “domestic cyber-operations,” can be waged at the whim of the president or his cabinet members.

Barack Obama said that an open discussion is “healthy for our democracy.” Yet leadership has debilitated democratic values. So much so that the data gathering, to mine our thoughts, our intellectual property, our intentions, is government breaking and entering–invading our entrance foyers, living rooms, dining rooms, offices, family rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, attics, basements, and our closets. Feeling us up and down, their fingers probing crevices, folds, and orifices.

I see a prism as reflection, light. Now the word, uppercased, is a violation, thought rape. The new rule is: I think therefore I am… theirs.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, representing Wall St and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (check this link and another for a glimpse into lifestyles of the filthy wealthy), weighed in with trademark-able ickiness:

I flew over the World Trade Center going to Senator Lautenberg’s funeral and I thought of those bodies jumping out of that building hitting the canopy. Part of our obligation is keeping America safe.

Calling for the arrest of Greenwald, Peter King, representing Wall St, said, “… this is putting American lives at risk and clearly done to hurt Americans.” King earlier effused that Snowden be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence,” he said.

Oh, my. Really, it’s a matter of our intelligence—this assumption that we’re stupid. But then why wouldn’t they presume this? We’ve allowed them to pass the Patriot Act, the NDAA, SOPA (among others), to lie a path to endless war with concepts like WMD, mushroom clouds, and “fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” along with further fear-inducing and nationalistic rhetoric. Here’s a recent Obama example:

And long after the current messengers of hate have faded from the world’s memory, alongside the brutal despots, deranged madmen, and ruthless demagogues who litter history – the flag of the Unites States will still wave from small-town cemeteries, to national monuments, to distant outposts abroad and that flag will still stand for freedom.

Astonishing.

Americans have an image of themselves as rugged individualists.  (But we are in this together, borderless, an ecosystem.) Many who cling to the nonconformist construct have been reduced by 9/11 panic to wave the red, white, and blue and chant “USA! USA! USA! while eying suspiciously anyone who practices Islam or wears head covering that isn’t a baseball cap.

I read about Snowden and see Bradley Manning, another young man who saw something and said something, who hoped to expose the truth about American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s being court martialed for his courage.

I look at comments beneath articles to take a pulse, see what people think about Manning. When someone says he endangered US troops, I wonder if the commenter believes the people in the countries we’re destroying are unaware that our military kills defenseless men, women, and children.

Yet here’s what Obama said in March of 2010 to US troops in Afghanistan:

Make no mistake, this fight matters to us…it matters to the Afghan people. Al Qaeda and the violent extremists who you’re fighting against want to destroy. But all of you want to build — and that is something essential about America. They’ve got no respect for human life. You see dignity in every human being. That’s part of what we value as Americans. They want to drive races and regions and religions apart. You want to bring people together and see the world move forward together. They offer fear, in other words, and you offer hope.

That’s a load of American exceptionalism/narcissism.

Meanwhile, not one mainstream media outlet has insisted that our government release Manning, whose military oath includes reporting war crimes. Nor has any mainstream media outlet called for the prosecution of those who green-lighted the spy program. Not one mainstream media outlet has demanded the impeachment of Barack Obama.

Why? Because despite the talk that Snowden’s audacity is provoking, a majority of Americans say the NSA’s program is tolerable.

We are witnessing crimes committed by our government, in our names. If we see something, we should say something. The acquiescence of the masses supports an unaccountable government. The terrorists in DC and on Wall Street are winning. If we allow them to persist, not only will they hijack our thoughts, they also will hold the deeds to our souls.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine, and was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore She can be reached at missybeat@gmail.com.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail