Friday, July 18, 2008

The Status Symbol of Our Times -- Being on "The List"

The TSA Watchlist that is. These days it seems that all of the most interesting people are on it.

Of course, I'm being facetious because there is certainly nothing funny about being on the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) terrorist watchlist. However, if you find yourself on the list you're in very good company which includes US Senators, peace activists, grandmas, former government employees who've expressed criticism, writer Naomi Wolf, and as CNN reported yesterday, a former Asst. Attorney General and even news correspondents like CNN's Drew Griffin.

There is definitely very little funny about this.

Just imagine if someone as public as a CNN correspondent has trouble having their name removed from the list, what chance does an average citizen have.

As Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D-TX) stated, this is "curious, interesting and troubling" especially when you consider that Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff stated the database is managed by The Department of Justice. The same Department of Justice that was once headed by Alberto ( I can't recall ) Gonzales.

An investigation is certainly in order. However, I don't recommend holding your breath waiting for anything more than resulted from the hearings on the DOJ political firing, outing Valerie Plame or detainee torture. It won't happen until the American public, en masse, rejects these abuses of government.

In fact, unless you want to find your name on the TSA's or some other government list, you should just resign yourself to accept all of this as another sign of the times. But if you're like so many of us who are not comfortable with the course of our government then recognize that there are those who can, and probably will, make your life very uncomfortable.

In the following video, progressive author and columnist Naomi Wolf compares the anti-terrorism "watch list" to citizen surveillance tools used by authoritarian governments.

Is this the America of our future? It will be if we don't speak up.

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