User Toysinvapeland posted a comment on reddit that included both a stark, if not slightly hyperbolic, interpretation of the general political climate within The United States and an interesting idea with regard to the prevailing narrative that seems to lead to increasing authoritarianism.
We are now at the point where protecting your rights is terrorism.
This seems to succinctly get at the battle we seem to be facing very broadly from local municipalities to state governments (of varying degrees) and, of course, at the federal level. Many people in power are tasked with enforcing unjust systems with even less just tools, and as a practical matter, the people with the most power in the institutions tasked with wielding increasing powers may as well be abusing that power for personal reasons, if they’re not already. Probably anyone who has ever interacted with anyone recognizes the potential for human transgressions, and anyone attracted to the reins of power is probably someone who should be doubted simply on the merit of seeking it. I don’t understand why this seems to be lost on so many voters. People who have the most tenuous power – possibly because their grasp is on a poorly-regarded or more easily dismissed authority – tend to lash out the most fiercely, resulting in the invocation of inappropriate accusations of terrorism, as was the case in Tennessee, where a state water department employee told a group of local residents that unfounded complaints about water quality could be considered terrorism under the Department of Homeland Security.
[A Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation official] is claiming that questioning your city’s water-quality is an act of terrorism?…talk about some backwards shit. How about using fear of being labeled as a terrorist on your constituents is treason?
This is an interesting idea, in terms of public opinion. I’m no expert, but my gut says that people sort of coalesce around easily consensussable positions. For instance, “What about the children?” It’s hard to argue against that without seeming callous. “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.” Simple, to the point, and has the added benefit of casting aspersions on your friend who has taken the unacceptable position of actually wanting private data to remain private. Anyway, Toysinvapeland is right – if you’re at some gathering and a local water official implies you can’t complain about your water by law, I bet there are ways to dissent publicly that don’t involve being tazered or put in a private prison or whatever.
If it’s not possible to dissent in person, you can certainly say to your friends — or print on posters or billboards — “So-and-so wants to make it a crime to disagree. This is against the SPIRIT OF AMERICA if not outright treason.” I dunno, it sorta seemed like a good idea when I was reading it, but now I can see where it’s difficult to scale it. I mean, maybe you could find good candidates to replace all the fascisty politicians? My spidey sense says it’s, at least in part, the system that makes the politicians increasingly authoritarian. Terrify people, take their tax money to get access to international loans in order to build giant bureaucracies that will proceed operate with impunity because it’s too messy to divulge or rectify at this point and is therefore secret. We can’t flourish like this, and it’s beneath our shared national/cultural dignity/dignities to build the machinery for what Edward Snowden described as “turnkey tyranny” (awesome album name).