Paid for by Obama for America, “Attack Watch” is a website devoted to tracking down and responding to any “attack” on President Obama. Users of the site can report any blog, claim, Facebook post, or tweet that speaks against Obama, so Attack Watch can catalog and reply to them.
How they “reply” is somewhat unclear, but the site claims they only desire to arm Obama’s supporters with information. Obama supporters are encouraged to set up accounts on the site and use Twitter accounts to “submit evidence of ‘attacks’ on the president,” the Washington Post reports.
Attack Watch has been around less than a month and it has already succeeded in freaking some people out. One tweet sent into Attack Watch said the site has made “President Obama look like a creepy, authoritarian nutjob.”
Others, the Post reports, seem to think of the site as just another silly issue that right-wing alarmists will try to use against the President. Tommy Christopher of Mediaite reportedly said, “Great. Sounds like a terrific content-generating resource for right-wing bloggers, too. Everybody wins!”
So, is this just something else for conspiracy theorists and paranoids to get fired up about? Is it just silly for someone to be concerned about it? Good questions, but who is actually being paranoid in this situation?
Real, average American citizens whose free speech is supposed to be guaranteed and can even include a “redress of grievances” against the government, are the ones whose conversations, words, and social media accounts are being targeted. The President of the United States is encouraging his supporters to report their friends, family members, and neighbors to his campaign. Is it paranoid if it is actually happening?
No one’s door has been smashed down in the middle of the night, that we know of; no one has been hauled off in handcuffs because of Attack Watch that we know of; but is it appropriate for the President of the United States to use his authority in such a way? Even if this is totally innocent, is this what a divided nation needs?
On top of that, is it really a stretch to think that same President, whose wife is on a massive campaign to tell us what we can eat, drink, or be served in a restaurant, would inappropriately monitor what we are saying and thinking as well? Is it silly or crazy to point out that, while storm troopers may not be at your door tomorrow, this is how such tyranny has always begun – with monitoring and reporting?
On the contrary, I think this all reveals that it is the President and his people who are paranoid. And, while I am troubled by Attack Watch, not just by what they are doing now, but by the dangerous precedent it sets, perhaps it is a good thing. As Thomas Jefferson said, “When people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.”
If Obama is paranoid, afraid of the people, then it could be a step in the right direction and it is my hope that his fear bring us more liberty. That remains to be seen.