I think the question of our overall freedom as Americans is more relevant today than it has ever been. Whistleblowers have let us know that our government is more focused on knowing what we are doing than on what terrorists worldwide are doing. As a test experiment, maybe it is time for all of us to see if we still enjoy the freedoms that we took for granted for generations.
Can we even still ask if we are free and what can we write about without being hushed up? This is relevant as more Americans are finding their questions and searches for public information is being limited. In some frightening cases, people have been arrested and had their lives ruined for simply wishing to download public academic documents for study as was the tragic case with Aaron Swartz.
As mentioned, we learn from whistle blowers that our government has eavesdropped and collected our personal conversations in mass storage databases without warrants (Huffington Post). But in fact, many Americans have been shouting this for years and we just needed a whistle blower to remind us.
We have this pervasive ideal of what America is and we simply feel it will stay that way on its own. What would make us think that our established hope for American freedom is infallible? We have a system of courts that are in place to ensure our liberties are protected. But maybe it is not our court system that is the problem, but our legal system.
There should be no reason for Americans to have to spend hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to protect the rights they already have. And when this does happen, why aren’t those responsible for ruining lives held accountable? My definition of “accountable” is exactly the same as the criminal justice system. If you represent the law and your abuse of power results in the senseless death of another, “accountable” means you are tried in court for your actions that resulted in that death. (See Steven Heymann)