What is unusual (maybe) is that we are calling it “the news.” Yes, a comedy show (well, it tells us that is a comedy show but I wonder sometimes) is being referred to as “the news.”
I mean, why would I get my news from a comedian, when we have good old trusty Fox News, with its blonde
bimbos bombshells reading off what could only be considered hate speech? Or MSNBC, who actually interrupts their newscasts to inform us that The Biebs has been arrested? Isn’t that breaking news???
Obviously, hate speech is not my thing. And since I am about 20 years too old to consider the Biebs to be breaking news, I have to resort to watching Last Week Tonight…darn the luck!
And Sunday night’s episode…like a certain time traveling scientist, all I can say is oh boy…
Oh boy…things have gotten out of control in our country.
Oh boy…the NSA…
Oh boy…our country and our lack of understanding…
Oh boy…the fact that the word “dick” needs to be said countless times to have an intelligent discussion about the Patriot Act…
And maybe I just need to add another oh boy for posterity, so oh boy (again).
And it was frightening, as well.
It is frightening that the NSA takes the time to (potentially) spy on people who are (probably) not terrorists.
It is also frightening that so many people (as evidenced by John Oliver’s street interviews) are not familiar with Edward Snowden and the exact ramifications of the Patriot Act. And no, this is not to be confused with WikiLeaks (although I have to give that lady an A for effort, she really tried).
It is frightening that Oliver had to bring up “dick pics.” Bring up “dick pics”, and you get people’s attention…who knew?
Mention The Patriot Act, and most people shrug it off. But mention the government being able to access any “dick pics” that some naughty person may have stored on his/her smart phone…then we get a reaction other than a shrug! Then we get people talking!
And I am not sure whether to laugh or cry.
Maybe I should laugh. I mean, dick pics will always be funny, right? Hey, penises are just pretty hilarious, period.
Or should I cry?
Cry at the fact that we live in a country where everyone is a terrorist until proven otherwise. Guilty until proven innocent, in other words.
Cry at the fact that keeping a society safe means violating the fundamental rights of its citizens, especially its most vulnerable ones (aka ones that are not rich and/or corporations).
Cry at the fact that this has become so common place that people shrug it off in a random street interview with a comedian, until the term “dick pics” is brought into the conversation?
Or maybe I should I should cry at the fact that we are wasting so many resources to spy on people who are not terrorists, and neglecting those same citizens?
We have veterans who are homeless and committing suicide.
We have roads that are deteriorating at an alarming rate, and we are doing nothing about it. John Oliver eloquently reminds us of that here.
Many families have trouble putting food on the table. This is not due to a lack of food (we have more than enough to go around) but due to greed, plain and simple.
I could go on and on. We are wasting resources to violate our constitutional rights, and the fact that these resources are not devoted to what really matters (and being able to feed our kids and take care of our veterans are things that really matter to me) also hurts us. So its a double whammy.
Personally, I don’t feel threatened by “terrorism.” This is just another boogeyman created by the government, to detract away from the real issues (those mentioned above, and many more). This has been done time and time again. How else this country be able to go to senseless wars so much? Distracting the population is a useful tool at times.
What I do feel threatened by is the thought of a veteran not having the resources he/she needs to get the proper help, so that he/she can take care of themselves and their families.
I feel threatened by the fact that resources become more and more scarce. Anyone who is able to work should be able to find a full time job to take care of his/her household. No child should have to go hungry because food is somehow considered a “privilege.”
And I am all for national security. Tragedies like 9/11 should never happen again. And I believe that the measures we have taken at airports and so forth will prevent a tragedy like that from happening again.
What I don’t believe is the need for the government to have access to my personal information, like the picture on my phone (naughty or otherwise). The government having access to my info, whether it be my cute kitty and puppy pics (insert awww right here, I have so many of those), pics of Charleston sunsets (which are completely gorgeous) or naughty pics (I will leave that one alone, actually), does not keep myself or anyone else in this country safe. Nor will it prevent a terrorist from attempting to blow up a building, opening fire at some large public event or any other horrible act a person may be contemplating at any time. The only thing that is accomplished by the government being able to spy on its (mostly) innocent citizens is mistrust. Or total complacency. Neither of which are what we want.
So yes, this episode of Last Week Tonight made me feel like crying (although there was plenty of laughter. I mean penises. Penises will always be funny and that is a fact!).
But the Patriot Act and its implications are no laughing matter. Our constitutional rights are not “dick pics”, they are part of what is supposed to make this country great. And taking care of our citizens, especially the vulnerable ones, is no laughing matter either, and I take that quite seriously.
So we need to wake up, and start having some discussions. Maybe we don’t need to talk about “dick pics”, but we need to start talking. Period.
Or, we end up like this (in the immortal words of the great poet Robert Zimmerman):
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears.