Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, America

With all of the hoopla surrounding yesterday's July 4th celebrations, it was hard for me to get a word in about the importance of our Independence Day. As someone who is keenly aware of the rights and privileges we Americans entertain in our daily affairs, I am always concerned that ever more of our rights are being given up voluntarily at the expense of so-called security. Anyone who has boarded a plane in the last seven years knows of the travails one must endure in order to successfully move from origin to destination. How many women have had to give up their children's box drinks because they didn't think about their being larger than 3 ounces? How many times have we wanted to bring a bottle of water on board only to remember that the one we just purchased outside the airport has to be disposed before boarding? It's not just the annoyances, it's the flights that have been delayed due to everyone trying to stuff their overloaded carryon items into the overhead bins. Now, with American Airlines and others charging for any suitcase checked into a flight, that battle for overhead bin allocation space would seem to get more heated. Red light camera enforcement has given way from catching motorists who flagrantly run red lights to capturing the license plates of those who drive nine miles above the speed limit. I can't wait till the cameras start recording those people not wearing seatbelts or using text messaging while driving. Not that I'm apologizing for those scofflaws. It's just that the technology has made it much easier for government (or private concerns working for government) to intrude into personal lives as a way of seeking more profit and revenue streams. The ability to monitor the private lives of citizens has taken on Big Brother status in recent times. As Benjamin Franklin so eloquently pointed out: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." I hope we keep that in mind as we continue to lose more and more rights at the sacrifice of "security."

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