Much of the world used to look at the US as a bastion of freedom, free speech, personal expression, the famed “city upon a hill” that the first colonists dreamed to create as they escaped across the Atlantic to try to freely practice their religion. But over the past 10 years, things have changed.
For example, two young British citizens were not allowed into the US after tweeting “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America” and “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA pissing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!” When they got off the plane, they were arrested and questioned for 5 hours. They explained that “destroy America” means that they were going to party hard and that the digging up Ms. Monroe was from a Family Guy episode, but the police didn’t buy it. Instead, they were thrown into a holding cell with drug dealers for 12 hours, then shipped back to the UK.
We’re patting down 6 year olds in the airport and forcing old people and young kids to take off their diapers because there’s a chance there’s a bomb in there. When pressed, the TSA said that because a 6 year old in Iraq set off a bomb, we have to check our six year olds too. That’s just asinine.
To get on an airplane, we require people to go through body scanners that show every detail of your body to some government employee and could potentially cause cancer. An now the TSA and Homeland Security are debuting bodyscanners in random highway locations. It used to be that the government needed probable cause to search you, but now, they’re just scanning away without any sort of justification.
We have the “if you see something say something” campaign to try to get citizens to inform on each other. That’s straight out of Orwell. The government could be monitoring your social media, your private email, your search traffic for signs of a “national security threat.” When you enter the US, immigration has the right to look at the entire contents of your computer or any notebooks you might have on you, whether you are a citizen or not. The last time I entered the US, the agent looked at my notebook that was filled with business ideas and personal writing for about 5 minutes before he let me pass. The time before it, the agent opened my computer and looked around for a minute or two.
And if all that wasn’t enough, President Obama signed a law that allows US citizens to be held indefinently at Guantanamo Bay without charge or due process. This law is so clearly against the Bill of Rights. It’s incredible how far we’ve come in 10 years. It’s official government policy to assassinate US citizens in foreign countries who are “associating with terrorists.”
It’s clear Bin Laden is winning even in death. If he were still alive, he’d be laughing at all the changes that have been made in the name of security. In the name of fighting terrorism, we’ve adopted servaliance that are so Orwellian and Huxlian that the authors themselves would laugh at just how correct they’ve become. Previously, when people did horrific things in the US, we shrugged it off as an isolated crazy person and basically said “fuck off, we’re gonna keep living the same way we have been,” but we reacted differently to 9/11. We’ve succumed to fear from government and news media.
The ability to use common sense and discretion was already on the decline in US society before 9/11, but since then, the decline has sped up incredibly. The slope was a bit slippery before 9/11, but now its completly iced over and we’re quickly falling down the mountain. I don’t like it one bit.