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I spy…

Remember the game that we all played as kids. Mom would say, “I spy something….whatever, and we would continue guessing until we narrowed it down to the object. Or in my case, Mom would do that thing with her eyes that alerted me to the object when it became apparent that I was not going to be a very good spy at all. In hindsight, those clues begin to come quicker and quicker into the game and I’m now sure that she probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. In her mind she was probably thinking, “I spy a kid who has a future with a shovel; not a spy glass.” Thanks Mom!

Stan Hall

Despite my earlier limitations at this game, others have apparently excelled in the art and the topic is at the top of our current events page once again. In fact, it is always at the top of our current events page. Some days more than others but it’s always there. Our friend, Mr. Snowden, has ratcheted spying back up to the top of the list as he sits in the friendly confines of the Moscow Airport. We had seen somewhat of a lull since Wikileaks, but here we go again.

The interesting thing about spying, other than the fact that is has always taken place and is practiced by every country in the world, who knows how to do it, is who does and who does not support it. The last time that it raised its ugly head, the Democrats were furious that these practices were in place and it was an evil tool that had been put in place by ….who else…George Bush. Former President Bush has been used as a scapegoat so much that folks in Texas say he can be heard bellowing in the wee hours of the night if you listen closely. Maybe what they are hearing now is not bellowing but belly laughs as the Democrats now seem to believe that spying is not all that bad. It’s funny how a Democrat in the Whitehouse can change one’s (the Senate’s) perspective. Their rhetoric went from spying on our own citizens is not acceptable to spying… that is such a harsh word.

I say whatever it takes to get some of our Democratic friends on board, as well as some of my Republican friends who no longer know if they can support anything that Democrats might also support (even though it was Republicans who originally supported the practice) with protecting our country. I don’t care if you call it espionage, stalking, snooping, or a kid’s game of “I spy Something in My Eye;” it is a practice that we must employ to be a safer nation. Some of the leaders of countries who have yet to master the fine art of finding out about plots before they are carried out, find our practice deplorable. You will also notice that the countries who are a little advanced in the field are not quite as vocal about this issue. I wonder why. They spy on us and we spy on them. It has been that way since the beginning of formalized governments. It has to be that way. We know from experience that once you let your guard down, bad things can happen and can happen very quickly. Thanks anyway, but I don’t need Mr. Snowden to save me from my country. I was happy to hear that Venezuela had offered asylum to him. Great, think he will like it there. I suspect after a few hours in line waiting to buy a roll of toilet paper, he will be spying a little as well. Perhaps a little surveillance on where he might find a discarded newspaper will be in order.

As to those who have their drawers in a bunch about Snowden’s allegations of our emails and texts being monitored, who are you kidding? Do you have emails that you are truly concerned that someone might read? I hope that they are monitoring mine. But just in case mine are not included in that information that Snowden has knowledge of, here is a sample of a recent text string. “Hey, what’s going on?” “Not much.” “Really… nothing?” “No.” “What are you doing tomorrow?” “” “Don’t know.” How bout them dawgs?” “Woof.” I know that this is riveting and I could go on but I don’t want to get you too worked up. I’m okay if they read mine. Now maybe if my emails contained conversations about terrorism, bringing harm to our country, creating violence for our citizens, and other things that we probably should want our intelligence agencies to be on top of, I might be a bit concerned. I think that I’m good on this one. I hate to burst your bubble…but I bet that most of you are safe as well.

I understand, and honor the premise of personal privacy and freedoms as well as anyone. I have also always lived by the principle of if you are not doing anything wrong, you don’t care if other people know what you are up to. A little sunlight does not worry me. It is typically the ones who are up to no good that prefer to stand in the shadows. If illuminating those shadows means that we have to take some preventive measure, even to this extent, then crank it up. It may not be exactly what we prefer, but it sure beats the alternatives. The first time something bad happens, I can already hear the tapping of keyboards from those who follow the highly academic, for a high school graduate, teachings of Mr. Snowden. “How did our government let this happen……and they better not be reading this email.”

I know that some people who require this sense of absolute and unquestionable personal freedom, no matter the cost to our country as a whole, really believe that they are saying the right thing. But in the world that we find ourselves today, it is not an achievable goal. To quote our Moms once again, “you can’t always have your cake and eat it too.” That’s a kind way to say it. A more direct way to say it was best said by Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., someone who was an absolute beacon for the preservation of personal freedoms. It goes something like this. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Well said!

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