Sometimes I wonder about our ability as human beings to think clearly and logically. We seem to think only what we want to think based on the happenings of the moment.
For example, the “leaks” of the former security person Snowden “prove” that we have a true 1984 (the novel by George Orwell) situation in which our constitutional right to privacy has been violated. And we now have “proof” that the government is spying on us as individuals and spying on everyone else in the world, including foreign countries!
True, computers may find us via “Big Brother” tactics, but who in Washington circles wants to know that I sent my friend a copy of my pound cake recipe and what good will it do our government to see that I forwarded that cute email about “Maxine?” Let Uncle Sam check on me! I’m glad.
I have been accustomed to having “surveillance” on my every more all of my life. It started with my mother who always found out where I was at any time of any given day. She, and the mothers of all my friends, had a system of knowing where I was even when I thought she had not a clue! I remember once in college when I got a ride with a friend to come home for the weekend, I surreptitiously rang the doorbell at midnight, knowing how my mother would react with shock and joy to my surprise visit. Instead, there was “a leak” of mental telepathy so that when she opened the door, my mother just said, “Well, I wondered when you would get here. You’re later than I thought you’d be.” So much for that surprise! But I’m glad she “knew.”
When I went to teaching years later I was “observed” by the department head, the principal, the assistant principal, parents, fellow teachers, and my best and most verbal critics both in and out of the classroom — my students! Always “Big Brother” was in the classroom all of my 48 years! And I didn’t mind at all.
But, alas, when I retired, I knew I would no longer be in anyone’s observation assignment. But the other day, I got terribly lost when I was trying to find a ToysRUs store in Cedar Hill. With all the pride of an old woman who thinks she has technology under her control, I punched the “OnStar button” and waited for an answer. A kind voice answered my plea, “I’ll check for that store — yes, here it is.” Would you like for me to give you driving instructions?”
How did that “voice” know where I was? Was she behind me? In front or beside me? In fact, once she “fussed” at me because I got off the directed path. She said, “Do you still want me to give directions?” Well, I trusted the voice and said, “Yes.” She directed my every move with details of miles and turns and I arrived safely at my destination. This person knew where I was at that minute and for the next 15 minutes. Help! A stranger knew where I was? She was following me! My rights had gone out the window. Thank goodness!
These advertising calls — four in 30 minutes today — can find me and address me as “Mrs. Cain.” Then they want to check on my bathroom fixtures or my security system or my political views! I’ve said, “Don’t call me,” but it falls on deaf ears. But I don’t feel threatened and have the privilege of hanging up. Still, they can’t invade our home and check us out. We are secure in our house.
And when I realize how many attacks on our country may have been averted by or will be averted in the future by “tapping our wires,” I rejoice that we have a security system to protect me, my family and all of everyone else. And I resent anyone who threatens that protection. The coin says it all: In God we still trust.”
And then I remember the story of the little boy who said to his mother, “Mommy, where do my thoughts go?” And the wise answer was, “Son, your thoughts go straight to God.” To which he answered, “Mommy, I’m scared!” That’s a real “wire-tapping” system and I don’t object at all!
Frankly, I’m glad someone has always “followed” me and given me good directions and protection in my work and in my personal life. Otherwise, who knows where I’d be!
Linus has his blanket but I have my country, my family, and God — in these I’m secure.
Wanda Cain is a retired educator from Waxahachie.