Thursday, August 15, 2013

Amber Alerts, Our Phones, and Our Politics

Many of us had an Amber Alert delivered to our phones recently.  Two children had been abducted; and authorities wanted the help of citizens to locate them.  A car description and license number were issued with the Amber Alert, so that we could all be on the lookout.

When this occurred, somebody said to me, "Well, that's a little bit like 'Big Brother.'"

Frankly, I saw red.

I replied, "If it was my child, I'd sure want everybody's phone going off.  And I bet you would, too."  The person didn't argue.

The next day, I was getting my hair done.  The subject of this Amber Alert came up in the conversation that was taking place in the salon.  A lady commented that her husband had said, "It's the government."  Implication being?  The "bad" government, taking over the privacy of our phones.

Again, I saw red, but managed to contain myself.

Both of the people who made these comments are pretty right-leaning in their political opinions.  They probably read a lot of right-leaning websites, listen to a lot of right-leaning radio, watch some right-leaning TV.

Now, I am a pretty conservative person.  Outwardly, anyway.  Inside, I've got a lot of hippie going on.  So, I really don't completely fit in anywhere.  And I kind of annoy some people.  That's cool with me, though.  I have a lot of nice friends who accept me as I am.  I have an interesting life, full of a diversity of interesting things.  And part of why it's so interesting is that I don't hang with just one type of person or group.  I try to get around.

One thing I have noticed, though, in the course of getting around, is that there is a lot of suspicion going on out there, particularly suspicion of the government by right-leaning people.  I'm not saying we should just accept everything the government says and does in a passive, idiotic way.  I'm just saying that this suspicion seems to be getting a bit out of hand, as is illustrated by the reactions to this Amber Alert.

Because, hello people.  Children were abducted by a very bad man.  A mother and another child had been found dead.  And, like it or not, we are a society -- a community of people.  That implies that we have some responsibility for each other.  That implies our government has some responsibility for us, and us for our government.  A government is supposed to be concerned with The Common Good, as are its citizens.  And, to me, finding kidnapped children comes under the umbrella of The Common Good.  So, when the police get together with "the government" to devise a system that will quickly and efficiently notify the citizens that a child has been abducted, I say, "Rock on, Big Brother."  Because, in my opinion, that's an example of government being at the service of the citizens, which is exactly what government is supposed to do.  I'll happily pay a few taxes for that.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marla,
    I'm so glad that you speak out about doing the right thing. It's not red or blue, or right or left, it's the right thing. Thank God that the amber alert has saved lives of some of our children. God bless, Gail