Putting the Elephant Out There: Barack Obama Soothes the Nation
President Obama had a one hour press conference where he talked about increased government transparency in relation to the stream of news reports from Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian about the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance programs. All of this courtesy of the non-patriot, Edward Snowden.
Rather than give Snowden credit for sparking this national and global debate about unlawful surveillance, the president wanted it for himself, saying that he’d been planning to have a real discussion on the very same issues, far before Snowden went public.
The brilliance of Glenn Greenwald’s tactic of dribbling a new report every week highlighting further glaring abuses by the NSA’s surveillance programs continues to force our officials to change their stories and admit, more and more, the unsettling technological capabilities our government has on hand, and uses against the American people, as well as anybody else on earth who has a phone or Internet connection.
But today the president acted like he was on the side of the American people. He felt sorry for us having to get mixed signals and misinformation from the incompetent media outlets. The reporting on the NSA’s spy assault on the American public has been “coming out sideways”, the president said, and “in drips and drabs”.
Because of the recent royal baby being born, I couldn’t help but imagine the birth of an enormous elephant when the president said:
…rather than have a trunk come out here and a leg come out there and a tail come out there, let’s just put the whole elephant out there so people know exactly what they’re looking at, let’s examine what is working, what’s not, are there additional protections that can be put in place and let’s move forward.
That’s a cute phrase, and if there’s anything Obama is filled full of, it’s adorable, comforting phrases. He wants to pretend that he was going to put the entire NSA surveillance system out in front of the American public so we could gawk at it and scrutinize its various parts from afar, like standing outside of a cage holding a wild elephant.
Barack Obama pretends the advanced technology used by the NSA, amid the blatant lying and disinformation spread by director James Clapper, as well as POTUS himself, that the goggling American public could have thoroughly assessed the behemoth spy programs and surveillance systems that have shredded the most important principles of our Constitution (principles we will most likely never recapture).
Even if Edward Snowden hadn’t come along, the president’s idea of letting us gather round the figurative elephant wouldn’t have led to the depth or breadth of discussions the leaks have. Instead, the federal government’s intelligence agencies would have been holding the cards and been dispersing highly strategic nuggets of information for us to view, to sate our curiosity without raising too much alarm.
And with plenty of time to squeeze the emotional triggers with phrases like, It’s for your safety, remember, and, We’re gathering all your information and some NSA agents can actually read all your emails, listen to your phone conversations, and tap into your entire Internet search history, but it’s because we care about you.
But there are times when an elephant needs to be slain. I hate to say that, because after getting a BB gun for my tenth birthday, and embarking on a sparrow killing spree around the farmstead, I vowed never to intentionally take the life of another living creature.
Yet, with that in mind, the surveillance system elephant needed to be brought to its knees and cut open from throat to groin. The durable grey skin needed to be torn back. Inside, the working parts of the system, no matter how complicated or messy, or pristine and shiny, needed to be jerked free and rolled out onto the grass for all to see.
A team of experts needed to slip their fingers into even the grimiest chunks of inner elephant, and turn each organ inside out for scrutiny. All of the findings, of course, needed to be reported by independent, coherent, capable writers and reporters.
Because that’s how serious this overfed NSA animal has become, and overfed and empowered by our tax dollars behind our backs. Edward Snowden’s leaks are demonstrating that.
We as a people shall not simply trust that government has our best intentions at heart. We as a people must never suppose that any measure of security is worth the disruption of our constant struggle for liberty. These truths should be self-apparent. We shall not accept our president’s version of reality, or be satisfied with his satisfaction of a system as abrasive to our future as free humans in a free country as the continuing reports about the NSA’s secret spying programs have shown us.
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