Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

July 7, 2013

Fred Goldenberg: Freedom, Big Brother and public safety

TRAVERSE CITY — Freedom isn’t free.

It isn’t cheap either.

The freedoms we live with today were paid for by the blood and sacrifice of almost one and a half million men and women who have served our country with bravery and honor. Since the Revolutionary War, men and women have marched off to do battle to secure our freedom only to never to return to those who loved them. Yet it is through their ultimate sacrifice that we live in a nation where freedom isn’t an allusion, but a reality.

For more than 200 years, we’ve maintained these freedoms through constant vigil against those who seek to shackle us in both mind and body. This vigil is maintained by people who hide in the shadows and keep a careful watch like a shepherd watching over his flock. I’m not talking about our elected officials whose blustering and posturing fill the 24-hour news channels. I’m talking about those who do the job no one else is willing to do. The men and women on the front lines of those governmental agencies with initials we all know- CIA, NSA and FBI, the agencies which have made Robert Ludlum a multimillionaire and each of us an expert in espionage and counterterrorism.

Big brother is watching. Big brother must watch for us to maintain those freedoms granted to us by the Bill of Rights. There are those who disagree with this statement and believe that the government, with a capital “G,” should go away and leave us alone. That governmental oversight is an obstruction to our rights, yet it is because we have government oversight that we’ve maintained our freedom for so long.

I know it’s confusing. How can we be free if there is always someone watching over our shoulder? Is there really freedom when our phone conversations, voice mails and e-mails are being scrutinized by thousands of computers and analysts daily? In a word: yes.

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