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Advice from CSD on NSA scandal: talk about it!

Reposted from the Campaign for Stronger Democracy’s blog, this post was written by Brandon Lee…

Yesterday, word broke that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been tracking the phone and internet records of virtually all Americans, and that they ordered companies from which they received information to keep this sharing a secret. (Read the original, exclusive piece from the Guardian here).

I was having a conversation with a couple of friends yesterday about this issue, coming from very different points of view. One thought that the NSA collecting information on everyone was intrusive, he had no expectation of privacy from the government in the first place and therefore wasn’t mad about it in the slightest. The other was outraged over the government’s actions and thought that it was an extreme intrusion into personal privacy. Their arguments were a bit more nuanced than that, but we’re not going to discuss national security and transparency policy at this very moment.

I asked my second friend what he thought we should do about it, and his answer was an incredibly simple, almost unbelievable one: talk to people.

The idea is, most people might be mad about something like this, but they don’t know why they should be mad, and they don’t know what they should do to channel that discontent. By talking to, say, four people you know about an issue, they might turn around and talk to four people they know, and so on until there’s a whole wave of people who can articulate a disagreement with the NSA’s information collecting.

Sometimes it takes that critical mass of the public to change the way the government (or a group, or a corporation) operates, and the way to get that started is one of the simple, most basic tenants not just of democracy but also of communities, families, and even human existence. Let’s talk.


See the original post at http://strongerdemocracy.org/2013/06/07/talk-to-people/ and check out all of CSD’s recent posts (including their reflections on NCDD’s confab call on red-blue dialogue last month) at www.strongerdemocracy.org.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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