A few years ago, I counseled a family that was about to break apart. One core issue was that the husband/father was domineering. He wanted to be “in the know” on everything. He’d call his children on their cell phones every 15 minutes when they were out to make sure they were where they said they’d be. And he’d check his wife’s receipts, look at her email, and monitor her Facebook. The presence of this man loomed over the lives of his family like the smog over L.A. when the wind won’t blow.
Everyone in his family said the same thing: “We’re freaked out. We can’t do anything without the sense that he’s watching and that he may come down on us at any time.”
The father, when he heard them say this, sat smugly in his chair with his arms crossed. “I’m just trying to be protective and engaged…that’s what dads do.”
Sound familiar? It’s the same mantra coming from the White House following each new scandal. The IRS audits and blocks conservative groups…EPA waives fees for liberal organizations…government seizes AP phone records…NSA collects Verizon phone records…and all we keep hearing is, “We’re just trying to be protective and engaged…that’s what governments do.”
Here’s the response from the White House after the nation learned that our government seized millions of Verizon phone records:
“Information of the sort described in the Guardian article has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States, as it allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States,” said a senior administration official, granted anonymity to discuss the matter before an official response is issued.
When President Obama was re-elected in November of last year, many of his supporters were crying out for a more aggressive, activist-style government. I’m not sure that the domineering dad approach is what they were envisioning. But, we’re getting what we voted for…so we’d better be prepared for our executive-order-happy president to reach even further into our lives over the course of the next three years.
“Trust me…it’s for your good.”
But I don’t feel good. I feel freaked out.