Monday, June 24, 2013

The surveillance state: An American vampire

It must feed.

Like a vampire, the surveillance state (SS) abhors sunlight, performing its business under cover of darkness were it can peek surreptitiously into people’s lives undisturbed by oversight or prying villagers. Its lifeblood is information, secrets, the private parts of your life that no one else has access to. Its hunger is insatiable. Not satisfied with focusing solely on “the enemy,” its pale fingers reach out farther, to those who had never considered being terrorists or, for that matter, committed any crime. Let’s suck information from them all, it said, eyes wild with the thought of such unchecked power.

By day, the SS is nearly invisible, and when noticed, those under its pall provide it with the necessary cover to remain beyond accountability and unchallenged. Its coffin is protected from discovery by ancient incantations involving “national security” and “state secrets” used to lull the initiated into acceptance and obedience. Occasionally, an intrepid vampire hunter will peel away the layers of protection and expose the hideous monster that exists in the corners of the windowless government rooms, yet the vampire’s powerful protectors always seem to find a way to turn the hunter into the villain before permanent damage can be done.

The SS lives and grows in the dank, black night of despair and fear. It thrives on our terror, becomes stronger as we grow weaker, stands taller the more we cower in the corners of our villages. We can’t believe it has become so powerful. How did we allow this to happen? Although all signs point inward, we refuse to acknowledge our part in the process, and lower the blinds while turning up our TVs louder.

So it will feed and grow, as long as we let it. And there will come a day, perhaps not that far off, when it will be strong enough to emerge from the darkness because it will no longer fear anything or anyone.

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