security at the airport, rights, freedoms
of course, in this post 9/11 world, you can count on the airport security showing up and they did show up. they were staring at me. the guy was just standing there, giving me a glare.
before i go any further, let me talk a little about my views on police, on national security people, on shopping center security people, and on airport security people.
there are people who argue that those in power will always need security people to protect the masses of common people who use, for example, airports and shopping centers and cars on the highway. i am not arguing against this point of view.
but what i find interesting is the idea that there are some people who know how to "play the game" of being a free citizen and at the same time, get what they want because they are not afraid to confront a powerful opponent. in other words, as a "free citizen" you are free to go to a shopping center, but then you are interested, let's say, in the fact that there is a new "aeropostale" store and that other stores have vanished. capitalism has the creation of new stores, new companies, and the destruction of other stores, other companies. enron is no more, a victim of deceptive accounting. just as some companies die off, some of them grow year by year. some stocks are good investments, while others are not.
so my point is that there is a certain freedom of movement for "free citizens." but the essential realization is that, on the level of the general public, we are not that far from the former soviet union. yes, you can go to shopping centers or airports, but you are not really welcome unless you have money to spend. and you have to move with the knowledge that attracting attention to yourself by acting unusually will attract the attention of the security people, as i did at the aiport when i was trying to understand where the security people and cameras were at the terminal.
my point is that being a "free citizen" is a game. you realize that you have to "play the game" of being a "free citizen" according to the spoken and unspoken, written and unwritten rules. and then you realize that all that stuff you were fed in school about living in a "democracy" and living in the "home of the free" is, to some extent, not true. but it is OK to be an idealist, to fight for the freedoms that we all should have.
there are arenas of combat, and one of those arenas is the law. there are lawyers for both sides, often trying to argue that a word defines something as being something, while the other side argues for a different definition of that word. so with torture, the government argues that the word "torture" does not define or describe what the government does to prisoners, while other people argue that waterboarding, for example, *is* torture.
the arena of business is simply, do you have a business, for example, large enough to afford advertising on TV? do you have mindshare of the common consumer? do you have contact points by which the consumer can contact your company? exactly what kinds of advertising will you create to create the image that your company wants to have? what is your logo and what does it represent? and so companies die out, companies are created, companies are growing and declining at any given moment.
there is a lot of anger in america since 9/11. we were number one, and we assumed that we would always be number one in the world. and then we were hit, and two towers came tumbling to the ground. and it is a tragedy. there is no denying that. many people lost their lives.
but as i saw in the glare of the airport security people, there is a fierce anger on the part of the security people, the government people. because any member of the public could conceivably be a terrorist, even in a small town in north dakota, this intense anger, this hatred, is directed at any member of the public who dares to behave a little differently. they could not get revenge against the terrorists who died on 9/11. but in their fierce anger the security people are saying that they will do "whatever it takes" to provide security. but again, remember that any one of the public could conceivably be a terrorist, which makes the public, as a whole, the potential enemy of the security people.
the solution, clearly, is not to do anything that is illegal or immoral. you must have a sense of integrity that is of the highest order of magnitude. having said that, you should be willing to fight for what few freedoms we have left, in the court of law, and by supporting groups like the american civil liberties union.
i am not defining myself as a radical. but there was a radical, who started the black panthers party, who studied law simply so that he could fight, in a court of law, the oppression of the police. so study law.
the law is there to define what rights the government does have, and does not have. and the law is there to define the freedoms and rights of individual citizens. it is OK to be an idealist and to fight for the rights and freedoms that God gave to all of us.