I can barely stand to read or watch the news, more than usual. I’m sure everyone on the planet is more than aware of the recent “scandals” involving certain acts by the IRS and the NSA. I’m pretty sure even my neighbor’s dog knows about it by now.
As usual, I am unsurprised. When GWB pushed the Patriot Act through, the country was in a state of fear and emotional irrationality. We had just lost over 3000 citizens to a terror group many people were unfamiliar with, had our own commercial airlines used as a weapon against our supposed tyranny, and were willing to place our faith in a President who vowed to annihilate our faceless enemies. We wanted to do anything we could to prevent further acts of terrorism — perhaps not anticipating the consequences, not realizing what we would hand over on a platter.
The revelation of secret government surveillance is not shocking. Under the Patriot Act, the government can bypass many of the normal channels in the name of counter-terrorism and under the guise of protecting Americans (while violating their Constitutional rights). I’m sure that this is not the first time records have been secretly handed over and data mined since 2001. I’m sure it will not be the last time, unless some serious changes begin to happen now that the outraged public has its eye on Washington D.C. When we permitted — when we asked for — the Patriot Act to go into effect, when we allowed the government to track and control our ability to travel, we lost some of our rights. We lost a little of our fundamental freedom, a lot of our protection against unlawful search and seizure, and our protection against a dictatorial government. A government that can bypass normal checks and balances via agencies it put into place is no longer a representational democracy. Whose interests are they representing when they no longer consult the people, years after a threat has been mostly contained?
As for the IRS “scandal”… As the media plays it, of course I am outraged. There is absolutely no reason for the IRS to conduct institutional discrimination based off political terms. The IRS has limited functions — to oversee the tax revenue of the government, to prosecute tax evaders, and to issue or revoke tax exempt statuses. Anything more done outside the bounds of protecting the tax interests of the United States is unacceptable.
However, I feel there is more to the story than a bunch of peons colluding to keep Tea Party 501(c)’s from being granted tax exemption. I wouldn’t doubt some bribery or political bullying is involved.
But don’t count on me to pay attention to seek out the answer. I’ve officially had enough of the word scandal, and I’d rather not deal much with the IRS until next April.
I’m sure I’ll hear about the outcomes from my more politically-curious husband….. whether I want to or not.