NSA Surveillance: Your Rights Don't Matter to Dems Or the GOP, Just Your Votes


You say privatization, I say Medicaid. You say fixed taxation, I say progressive taxation. I say Obama dropped the ball yet again with the NSA scandal, you ... support him? Generally opposed to Democratic ideals, the Republican party extended unexpected support for the Obama administration's national surveillance program. Both parties care about the American people, which is why they consistently debate about the best course of action for the government, but in the midst of the NSA scandal the Republicans were vociferous, and the president ... mostly mum. Who is to blame for the shift? Bipartisanship, driven by the eternal political strategizing for the 2016 elections.

The Republicans defended the NSA surveillance systems, thus supporting their existence under the Obama administration. Unwavering, former vice president and devout Republican Dick Cheney even called expatriate Snowden a "traitor" for denouncing the NSA practices. While many sources interpreted "traitor" to mean "spy," Cheney adamantly portrayed Snowden's actions as a betrayal of the American people. Essentially, both the Republicans and the Obama administration attempted to justify the blatant and invasive surveillance of the NSA as a safety necessity in the wake of terrorist attacks. Insert here the GOP's hope that Americans vote Republican.

"Traitor" was the buzzword for the Republicans; John Boehner also stated that "the disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk," and "shows our adversaries what our capabilities are and it’s a giant violation of the law." It seems more and more evident that the Republican party is focusing on a sense of loyalty, or lack thereof, to the American people. In their view, the NSA strives for the protection of, not the violation of, Americans' constitutional expectation of privacy. And hell, if it is a violation, it's a necessary one. Yet again, GOP wants the respect of the people by denouncing the disclosure as a violation, not the actual surveillance.

The NSA scandal invited tentative bipartisanship; while Bush was president, only 37% of Democrats accepted the NSA surveillance program. Under the Obama administration, that number has grown to 64% acceptance of NSA techniques. Alternately, 75% of Bush-era Republicants supported the NSA, compared to a current 53%. Both parties are clearly struggling to garner as many partisans as possible by staying just above or just below the 50% mark. Can't knock the strategy.

One would be remiss not to discuss the Democratic outcry against the NSA surveillance. However, while Democrats like Senator Merkley are fighting for further disclosure, and encouraging discourse with the American people about the information at stake, President Obama is getting more support from Republicans than from his own party. Politician Ron Paul blamed the NSA fiasco on big government by questioning whether the higher power is held by the Constitution or by the executive branch. Accordingly, Paul compels the people to remember their rights and to hail NSA whistleblower as a "hero" for telling the truth. And what about compelling the American people to stop blaming the president, to recognize that we need to stop relying on the Supreme Court, and compel Congress to "establish new protections of civil liberties"?

The American people, the outsiders and ultimately the victims in the NSA scandal, are now expected to cope with the realization that whomever they vote for will do little to protect their Constitutional rights, and if they do strive for that goal, they just might be chastised for it.