Thursday, 10 November 2011

The End of America

I saw an interesting documentary this morning on Netflix called "The End of America." The film is based on Naomi Wolf's book of the same name, in which she details 10 steps of the blueprint to close down an open society. She studied previous historical instances of this happening (think Nazi Germany, Russia, and Chile) and then was shocked to find the same things happening in her home country of the United States. I recommend giving it a look - it's good food for thought.

The step that was the greatest concern for me was the idea of a "list" - a watch list that designates our own citizens as potential threats. There are many celebrities and well known names on this list - people who have expressed opinions contrary to the current government. The point about free speech was then raised: when does dissent become terrorism? Shouldn't we have the right to criticize leaders if we disagree with their policies? Obviously there is a need to protect our citizens, but where is the line between healthy debate, expressing our opinions, and when it turns to a terror threat?

The scary thing about having a list is that that is exactly how previous regimes in history managed their quick collection of "threatening citizens" who were then jailed and killed. Such a round up has to be swift to be effective, which means the information must already be compiled somewhere. Like on a watch list. I really don't like the sound of that. There are more than 1,000,000 names on the US watch list. In fact, my dad was on one such list. It meant that every time he tried to fly, he was taken aside and questioned. Which is ridiculous, because he worked for an airline. He flied all the time - it was part of his job. Apparently it was another person of the same name on the list, but it didn't matter. It took forever for him to try and battle the system that was making it so hard for him to do his job.

Journalists, actors, news reporters, novelists, and ordinary people just wanting to take a stand are all on the list. No, I do not like this one bit.

I'm not a conspiracy-theorist. I'm not an anarchist. I'm not anti-government. I want some degree of security and protection. But I also don't want to walk around with my eyes closed, and then, like many Germans claimed, be surprised at the lengths to which our governments go.

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