America and the real world
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Ye shall have one manner of law, as well as for the stranger, and as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 24:22)
Poet Gil Scott Heron once said, “America leads the world in shock.” Like a great deal of what he wrote, that observation was both accurate and prophetic. The case of NSA leaker Ed-ward Snowden is the instigation for the new round of this collective distress.
The program Snowden revealed to the world is a program called PRISM. PRISM is a national security electronic surveillance program managed by the National Security Administration (NSA). According to reports, it is the number one source of “raw intelligence” utilized by NSA analysts. PRISM collects details by searching phone records and internet data. It claims to have prevented 50 terrorists’ attacks between 2001 and 2013.
It was a program renewed by President Bush in 2007 and renewed again by President Obama in 2012.
Snowden was employed by a government approved NSA sub contractor as a Systems Administrator, meaning technically, he was working for the CIA. As his employment lengthened, he was shocked by what he and his colleagues were doing and when America found out, it was even more shocked than he was.
I’m still trying to understand why. Do Americans really believe that the rest of the world’s governments don’t do the same thing? Is the communal mentality of this country so founded on naivety concerning national security matters that people believe this kind of thing only happens in the movies?
Whether Americans want to believe it or not, there are countries and people who would do anything they could to kill as many Americans as possible. And accomplish it by any means necessary. Because of that fact and because of the fact that the vast majority of the world’s electronic communications flows through this country, this government would be stupid and irresponsible if it did not search daily all it can search, including emails and phone calls.
Having the bulk of the world’s internet structure gives a great deal of opportunity. Russia would do the same and so would China or Israel or anybody else for that matter. At the moment they just don’t have the capability or the opportunity. When they are able to do so they will do so. And I’m willing to bet not one of their analysts is going to blow the whistle.
While I do care that our personal freedoms may be violated, I care more about being blown up by someone who hates me because I live in this country. Here’s what we need to understand: the first major attacks by the Taliban outside of Arabic countries was on the continent of Africa. The explosions killed men, women and children. This belief that some of us have because we’re Black none of us will be a target is not reasoned thinking. These folks don’t care about your color, they care are about what country you call home.
I’ve never hesitated to call out America what I thought I needed to and will continue to do so. And while I wish things were different, they’re not. Until they do change, I’m for doing whatever we can to keep alive. Think about it.