This gives me pause. . . as I have been pondering this problem lately. The grand experiment which is the United States was built on personal rights for all written in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. . . . . freedom of religion, speech, press, to assemble and to have personal privacy.
After 9/11 , the country was united in the desire of “Never Again” and there was not much questioning as to how that security was accomplished. But as the years have past and news and experiences of NSA spying on the nation and the world, control of the internet, airport searches and indignities at the airports, and prisoner enhanced interrogation; Americans, including me, are questioning our freedoms, security and the methods used to establish both.
This week in the world’s largest democracy where there is understandably obsessed with security has further fueled my thoughts. Information was circulated of a credible terrorist activity in India. Access to certain sites on the internet was stopped or limited to all of India. I had trouble accessing Facebook, in the morning, evening, and at night. Hmm, all times when people were home using the internet. I have experienced in the US having some news and YouTube videos not available as they are in the rest of the world. I have learned that from other bloggers. Here in India, we have been working for days to get just the proper documentation for the students. . . photos. . . on different paper for different applications. . phone, school, immigration. They need copies of their passports, visas, stamped pages of their passports, forms to be filled , a letter from the hostel and the University. . . all this to study here for 4 months. And all this to try to insure safety.
Some of you might ask, “Why not just ignore it all?” Well, one group a few years ago did just that due to ignorance of the policy. When they got ready to leave, 7 students were allowed to leave even though they didn’t have the proper exit stamp. Two students were detained. They were Americans of various heritages. Many people and countries find it hard to understand that American is a “salad mixture” of people from all nationalities. These detained students had to stay in a hotel for a week while their departure was discussed by many calls between India and the US! Finally, this happened and all other groups from Rensselaer have meticulously completed the process. This time the forms seem even more complicated than in 2013. Could it be bureaucrats justifying their paycheck?
I want to be safe, unquestionably, but at the price of our freedoms? Fascist countries take these same actions and I don’t want to live in like that. I am concerned, too, as to whom is making these decisions. In my lifetime, I have observed with taxes and government involvement, that once instigated or eliminated it is seemingly impossible to regain freedoms once they are gone.
Security or Freedom?
What say you?