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The Winter Doldrums

By Mo Breden

That’s my excuse.  I’ve not posted a blog since early January.   Yes, I know I live in Florida and you are saying “what winter”.  We do get colder weather here, believe it or not.  It just doesn’t snow and the cold weather does not last very long. But the winter doldrums is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.


As compared to where we were last year at this time, personally we are in a much better place.  Erin’s tumor is stable, she is back living her life fully, I am so thankful.  James is happy, working and settled in northern Florida, I am so thankful.

I am busy, almost all the time.  The only time I am not busy is when I don’t want to be.    I recently was certified by USMS (United States Masters Swimming) to teach adults to learn to swim, which goes along with my YMCA Swim Instructor Certification.  I’m happily swimming in the heated YMCA pool, even on the coldest days and have braved the open water several times this winter without a wetsuit.

So, what doldrums???  I’m not exactly sure, but I’m going to try to discuss it with you guys.  I turned 60 in July, and my age, or getting older has never bothered me, I’ve actually looked forward to it, but it is not easy looking in the mirror and seeing new lines, wrinkles and folds appear on my face.  It is not easy when society continues careening around wildly, like, well, like it always has.  I get discouraged and disillusioned with humanity and my natural instinct is to withdraw.  Chuck it all, turn on the TV, close the door and hibernate.  Problem with that is, I can’t do it.  I love life and I love most of the people that I encounter.  So I keep going, and I do the best I can to make my little corner of the world better, which is really all I can do. I intend to write more about aging in this society, but that is not primary on my mind today.

Something that has been gnawing at me, which I simply have to write about.  During the Oscar ceremony this week, the coveted statue was presented to the documentary film, Citizen Four.  I watched it twice (it’s on HBO on Demand now), just to make sure that I got the technical details as right as I could.  Although I have an IT background it is limited in comparison to Network Administrators, System Engineers and Analysts.  I suggest you watch it.  It does a very good job of explaining what Edward (who goes by Ed) Snowden revealed about our government collecting data, since September 11.

I was however, unchanged in my opinion of Ed.  He was contracted to work for the NSA through Booz Allen Hamilton, signed a confidentiality agreement, was paid, PLENTY, and then broke his word.  The concern of the film seemed to me to be what the big old bad GOVERNMENT could POSSIBLY do with the information they are collecting.

First off, is anybody really surprised about the amount of information that is out in the ether on each and every one of us?  Nobody forces you to use a cell phone, to rent movies on Netflix, to pay with a debit card or order things off Amazon, and to post on Facebook.  Nobody forces you.  There are consequences to the age in which we live, just as there are benefits.  Data is collected on all of us by giant corporations, who want to target us for their products, and yes by our own government.  There needs to be controls on how this data is used, but thus far there are none.

Who is the government?  Is it the politicians, who we elect to make decisions, and policies on our behalf?  I say no.  The government is THE PEOPLE.  I am one of those people, or I was.  I spent thirty years working for the government, as do many, many people that you know and love.  I wasn’t contracted to work for the government, I was employed by the government of the United States, in many capacities.  I even held the very security clearances that Ed mentions in Citizen Four.

The difference between Ed, and me is that I understood the reasons for confidentiality and he does not.  It is up to each of us to police our politicians, to hold them accountable, if we do not, we have no one to blame but ourselves if our information is misused or used against us in any way that would be harmful.   We did not need Ed to dump tons of data out to the world to know this.  Demand policies that protect the average citizen, while allowing for tracking, conviction and imprisonment of those who would do us and our country harm.  Demand policies that protect the programs over which men and women in the military lay down their lives for and allow them to do their jobs.

I detested Ed before I saw the documentary and I detest him now.  There is a lot of white type on black screen in Citizen Four, there are some eerie sound affects, and there are a lot of paranoid people.  Whether the paranoia is justified, decide that for yourself.  I just had to share my thoughts on this with you.  She’s backkkkkkkk!

Thanks for stopping by to read my post; I hope to see yas next time, for Life with Mo.

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