Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
In conversations with a member of Generation X, a Baby Boomer or even a Greatest Gernationer, we often find ourselves recollecting what things were like when we were kids, and how they were different from today. Discussing current events and everyday happenings with our own kids, Generation Z’ers, we can’t help but notice that we often compare today’s circumstances to how things were, or would have been, twenty-five years ago when we were children.
Recently, on our morning drive to school, our kindergartner pointed out to her younger sister that there are cameras on the traffic lights. Being the inquisitive type, the younger sibling responded with her usual, “whyyyyyy?”
“To make sure you’re not doing anything wrong,” quickly replied her older sister. “Right daddy?” she asked.
After biting down on tongue for a period of time, daddy had a difficult time holding in the many streams of consciousness fighting to let loose.
“Yes, they want to make sure you follow all of the rules of our society,” responded daddy. The overwhelming desire to protest such a travesty, however, could not be contained, “But more importantly, they want you to know that the cameras are there, and always watching you, so you don’t ever think of stepping out of line and that you never question those rules. When you’re scared of getting into trouble because someone is watching, your fear will keep you from doing anything that the person watching you may think is wrong.”
Blank stares were evident as daddy peered into the rear-view. Kids return to My Little Pony discussion.
For Generation Z, cameras on every intersection are commonplace. It’s completely normal to have them on our laptops and home computers. Cell phones have made it possible to take video communication (and surveillance) mobile. While they may not exactly understand their purpose, kids are very much aware of and completely desensitized to the surveillance society that we (not just our governments) have created.
Twenty-five years ago, had you suggested such a future, most would have dismissed it as science fiction on the order of Orwell’s 1984.
And while the video and audio on our traffic lights, laptops, iPads and cell phones aren’t necessarily being recorded, processed, analyzed and acted on by enforcement agencies as of yet, it’s not too far of a stretch of the imagination to understand where such technologies will go once the entire infrastructure is built out and computer processing power is fast enough to handle all of the information.
One generation at a time, we are being desensitized to tyranny. In fact, we ourselves not only allow it to happen, but are very much engaged in its promotion and acceptance – whether we like it or not.
The latest example comes to us from one of our nation’s airports and involves a TSA agent and a six year old girl:
The TSA agent acted respectfully, if that’s possible, with regard to the pat-down, and for all intents and purposes, performed her duties according to her job description.
The obvious problem, of course, is that as this six year old navigates through society, she will be exposed to thousands of such experiences, with each one creating a perception of what normal is – or isn’t.
For those of us who were used to standard metal detectors at airport security gates, or even the generation before us who didn’t have metal detectors at all, such actions by government officials are arguably a violation of our individual rights and, especially, the 4th amendment of the Constitution which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure.
By the time this six year old reaches adulthood, however, it’s highly likely that she (and we’re speaking in general terms and not specifically directing this at one particular child) will be completely numb to “official” pat-downs and personal touching, and have no Constitutional qualms about such invasive behavior from government sponsored entities.
A violation of our rights today, becomes everyday behavior a generation from now, until eventually, the America of when we were kids is totally gone, replaced by a new, unrecognizable government, culture and society.
It’s happening right before our eyes – in slow motion.