If the 19 terrorists of 9/11 came from a province in China or had names like Lin, Lee, Kim, Chu, Huan, I will probably be on the terrorist watch list. I will be called aside every time I go through security, and patted down. Other passengers will stare at me because I will look like ‘one of the terrorists.’ I can assume that my phone is being wiretapped and that my mail is being secretly monitored. My blog will be read by the FBI and the CIA. I will tell my friends, and they will give me a sad look and say, “it’s not right,” and then go home and watch ‘24’ where the North Koreans and Chinese will get shot to pieces.
Lucky me. But for a large number of Americans, their names are on the list (CNN). We pass it on as a mere inconvenience, satisfied that there is a greater good. That as a result of these watch lists, we are safer. We say the same thing about the new FISA law. “Look,” we convince ourselves, “no attacks since 9/11.”
At work, when a fellow employee is treated unfairly by his boss, we play the same game. We are glad it’s not us. If we’re about to get a big promotion, it’s time to shut up. “Look,” we tell the poor fellow, “I’m being the team player, even though I know it stinks. But see! I’m getting promoted!”
Never bite the hand that feeds you. We are told that this is the rule. Perhaps common sense.
Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin blogs of another book detailing the acts of the Outlaw Presidency. It seems brave people come out of their hiding places only when it doesn’t take very much to be brave--only when there is very little to lose.
We lose our freedoms and rights, not because people take them away, but because we allow them to take it. We are treated poorly at work, not because of bad bosses, but because we let these bosses get away with it. We watch them, and when given our turn, we become like them.
Never bite the hand that feeds you. It’s a motto that guarantees years of servitude and sameness.