The Surveillance Issue: The Fulcrum of the 2014 Election?

by Joe Scarry 

I’ve come to believe that the 2014 midterms will be crucial for the movement for peace and liberty. The more I think about it, the more I think the surveillance issue will be the fulcrum in 2014.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it would take to have a “scorecard” that would enable us to evaluate who is doing a good job of representing us in Congress . . . and who needs to lose their seats.

The public debate that stopped the attack on Syria helped clarify my thinking:  it was clear that constituents DO care about certain issues  . . . and their representatives WILL listen — at least, if they want to keep on being their representatives.

A message in code . . . ?

So what are the peace and liberty issues that will matter in 2014?

In my opinion, we need to focus on issues that the broad public feels a visceral connection to. Clearly, the public felt a visceral connection to the possibility of a U.S. attack on Syria. We should dig deeper into what that was all about. I can’t think of a bigger learning opportunity for us in the days ahead.

At the same time, I think we need to admit that sometimes the issues that we feel the most moral urgency around are not striking a chord with the general public at the moment.  When this is the case, we need to be really thoughtful about how we present those issues and be really strategic about the expectations we set for ourselves and other members of our movement. For example, I personally feel very strongly about the flagrant disregard for the rule of law in the U.S. policy of detention and Guantanamo — but I need to be realistic about whether that issue will determine what happens in the 2014 midterms.

We face many tough questions.  Does the general public really care about whether the U.S. government is violent? Do people care about the amount of money being spent on war? What reallygets their attention?

One issue that has a key place in this, I believe, is surveillance.  With each passing day, I am hearing more and more people say that the surveillance issue is something that a wide spectrum of people are deeply upset about. That includes people on the right as well as people on the left — people who don’t usually talk with each other, much less work together for positive change!

Is it possible that the fight against U.S. surveillance will be a key component in bringing people together on a broader agenda of peace and liberty?

Related posts

People in Illinois made it clear they didn’t want an attack on Syria.  Based on what I was able to detect, some representatives in Congress were listening, and some weren’t:

Looks Strong -7
Question Mark – 4
Looks Weak – 3

See Illinois says “No U.S. Attack on Syria” (Is Congress Listening?

Edward J. Snowden has forced us to confront what we all knew already: our government is running wild and we can’t get our privacy back, short of some kind of very extreme change . . . . We have a problem with our government. It sees opportunities for power in every bit and byte of our personal data, and it’s time to call it what it is: wrong.

See Fed Up With Being Spied On

Isn’t now a moment when, instead of falling back into our existing habits of trying to change America’s war-making ways, we should put our recent experience under a microscope? And ask what we can learn from this experience? Can we make 2014 the year that we sort the wheat from the chaff in Congress? And get the control over war and peace back into our own hands?

See Election 2014: The Moment of Truth for the US Antiwar Movement?

This entry was posted in End of the Empire, Military Industrial Complex Revisited, National Security State and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Surveillance Issue: The Fulcrum of the 2014 Election?

  1. I think you’re onto something. The ‘surveillance issue’ is about betrayal … and that’s fundamental. I’ve known I’ve been betrayed since Iraq … since 9/11. But a lot of other Americans are only now, finally, suffering that same sinking spell feeling, and it’s because of their absolute betrayal by the federal government. I’m no rocket scientist, but I can understand …

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    … and every other American can too. Not only can we understand it, it is a part of us. Wasting money, stealing money, playing the racist card, dividing to rule us … all that stuff is ‘politics as usual’, I’m sad to say. But this one is the straw that broke the camel’s back. The beam that broke the camel’s back.

    Ripping up our Constitution … and then not only no ‘mea culpa’ but … ‘get used to it!’ … no.

    No. I’m not the only one who’s furious. Who’s so mad I want to get even. I’m going to get even.

    Certainly the wars … the slaughter of innocents at the hands of our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Predator in Chief is even more serious, more deadly, more unforgiveable – even – in my eyes, than the spying.

    But the utter betrayal not only of ourselves but of the Constitution … which certainly trumps the bible in my book and I think in the guts of all Americans … the betrayal of Americans as yet unborn … this has created a groundswell of revulsion in America with our utterly corrupt political class, and it’s a revulsion with radical roots, redundantly speaking.

    I can only hope that many more Americans feel as I do. It’s time to clean House. I would recommend voting out all 435 of them and the third of the Senate on the firing line too. A couple of good babes might be turned out with the bathwater … Barbara Lee, the lone vote against the AUMF comes to mind … but she’s put in her time, and thank you Barbara Lee.

    But there are 314,000,000 of us ! Surely we can come up with 435 + 33 ordinary Americans of integrity … let me say that again … of integrity … and let the political class know that they’re done. Finished. Over.

    Then in 2016 … feeling our oats … we can finsh in the Senate with a 2/3s majority and ‘recast’ the White House and then write in a place for ourselves in our own Constitution.

    Representative democracy is fine … except when it’s not. And then we need to be able to break the glass and put out the fire ourselves. No more heroics required. Undoing the wrongs done by our representatives and replacing them when they venture beyond the pale must become a normal remedy applied by us sovereign Americans when the plutocrats and TNCs discover a new angle and buy our representatives … next time.

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