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If you’re old enough to remember the early days of Fidel Castro, then you remember when neighbors were urged to inform on neighbors – particularly, against those expressing contrary political opinions. But then, Castro wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last dictator to sponsor this type of nightmarish reality. Most Americans feel an icy chill, just thinking about a government that divisive – that controlling – that paranoid – that dangerous. Welcome to the Obama Administration.
In August, 2009, Linda Douglass, Communications Director for the White House’s Health Reform Office, appeared on national television, sitting at her computer screen, ostensibly tracking misinformation circulating about the new President’s Healthcare Reform plan. Turning towards the TV cameras, Douglass explained:
“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.” [i] (Emphasis Added)
Is this the type of request you anticipated from the office of the President of the United States? It’s an easily explainable request and a case can certainly be made for the paranoia of those who see it as sinister. Yet, it runs along the periphery of very ugly territory – informing on our neighbors’ exercise of free speech. The loss of liberty in minute doses is hardly felt until it is suddenly gone. Arguably, this type of request provides a clear indication of how quickly, how far, by what means and in what areas the American people can be pushed into compliance with new policies.
[i] Posted by Macon Phillips, (August 4, 2009), The White House Blog, Facts are Stubborn Things,” retrieved March 2, 2011 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/08/04/facts-are-stubborn-things