Many years ago when I was a teenager playing in garage bands, I learned about the mythical story of Robert Johnson the great blues player, going down to the crossroads. Johnson met up with this dark character, supposedly the devil, and sold his soul so he could be successful. He went on to write over 28 songs that represent some of the greatest Delta Blues songs ever recorded, and those songs started a revival in 1961 ( Robert died at the age of 27 in 1938) of a music genre well on its way out of the public scene. Johnson’s famous song about the crossroads was one of his best and some say it speaks of a dark encounter with fate. America seems to be going down to the crossroads as well and for all we know, as concerned hard working citizens, we may have already cut a deal. The crossroads that loom ahead of us represent a choice between freedom and security.
As information from the recent IRS scandal surfaces, it seems as though Washington may have been involved in targeting Tea Party groups. What we do know for sure is that the IRS changed their criteria mid way through the process of targeting social groups from “Tea Party” to ” anti government”. Also the Snowden case involving leaked NSA top secret information sheds more light on the direction our government is headed. Several articles have surfaced suggesting Snowden to be a national hero but this again highlights the idea that “the means is justified by the end” which underscores the whole issue of data collection on US citizens. What Snowden did was basically wrong and we cannot condone it, but neither can we stand for the tactics currently being used by the NSA, if we seek to protect our freedoms.
Other issues such as the targeting of media figures, the use of drones and even the Benghazi event demonstrate a move toward a government whose reach is infinite and without regard to any indifference to it’s approach. “The means is justified by the end” would be a good slogan to represent current White House and government tactics and defines our struggle with security as a nation. The problem of course, is that it has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with the loss of it.
The reactions and subsequent actions taken concerning these events will determine the course for America over the next few years. If Americans do nothing we are accepting the idea that security is highest priority and we are willing to sell our freedom to get it. The problem is there’s no turning back once we let our accountability process go. The pursuit of sweeping things under the rug becomes easier and easier and extracting accountability almost impossible. So we find ourselves down at the mythical crossroads between freedom and security. If we choose freedom then we are in for a long road of pain and sacrifice, but if we choose security then we give up our freedoms for a continued life of ease that could, and most likely would prove to be dangerous to our health as a democracy in the long run.