If there's one positive thing to come out of the NSA-surveillance scandal, it's that so many Americans consider it outrageous. Apparently, most of the public honestly believed the government wasn't already spying on all of us all the time.
My suspicions, on the other hand, have always tended toward the worst when it comes to government's capacity for misconduct. Not that I'm a conspiracy theorist -- "Truthers," "Birthers" and "Grassy Knollers" have no credibility with me -- but I do believe figures in government are prone to taking advantage of already bad situations to pursue personal agendas.
The only conspiracy I support is The Beatles-era "Paul is dead" theory. How else can you explain that the guy who wrote "Yesterday," "Hey Jude" and "Eleanor Rigby" went on to compose "Ebony and Ivory," "Wonderful Christmas Time" and "Silly Love Songs"?
I rest my case, your honor.
So, given the NSA situation, now it's our turn to capitalize on the government's violations of our rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
We have the tools. The NSA has been building what amounts to the planet's largest hard drive in Bluffdale, about 25 miles south of Salt Lake City. The super-secretive agency will store the records of most, if not all, of Americans' phone calls, text messages and social media interactions -- up to a "yottabyte" of information, the largest measurement computer folk have yet invented. (I would have gone with the name "lottabyte," but that's just me.)
Afterward, "at other locations" -- a bland phrase invented by spies who may dream of, but never will, write best-selling, post-retirement espionage novels -- NSA analysts will comb through the data looking for evidence of terrorist activity.
Yes, yes, yes: It's a horrible violation of liberties all citizens cherish and hold dear and that are promised to us in our founding documents. Blah, blah, blah.
If I learned anything from watching "Enemy of the State" over and over, it's what Gene Hackman's super-eavesdropper character revealed: "The government's been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the '40s. They've infected everything. They get into your bank statements, computer files, email, listen to your phone calls. ... Every wire, every airwave. The more technology used, the easier it is for them to keep tabs on you."
And some people say movies are "make believe."
Here's what I propose, speaking for the millions and millions of American men and women who would really rather stay at home watching television, eating mass quantities of unhealthy food and playing expensive video games:
The unholy alliance between U.S. spy agencies and Silicon Valley has been going on for years. The only good I've seen from it is that my Web-searching history informs Google, Facebook, the Standard-Examiner's website and every other e-destination I visit what kinds of products I'm interested in. That's why the banner ads alongside every Web page I visit are offering the latest barbecue smokers, hair-care products and big-and-tall fashions.
But that's not good enough. If the NSA and hordes of Bay Area tech nerds are going to track my phone calls and texts in addition to monitoring the rest of my e-life, they know EVERYTHING about me. So I want the NSA to start doing my shopping -- including delivery to my doorstep -- balance my bank account, pay my mortgage and car payment, and every other thing they already know I need and/or want.
Granted, I may still have to go to work and mow my lawn, but I'll have lots more spare time to hunker down in my man cave to watch all the satellite-transmitted sports, comedic and dramatic programming my heart desires.
Thanks, Uncle Sam. Snoop away.
Email Don Porter at email@example.com.