It seems like they are just handing them out these days to anyone. The latest recipient: Barak Obama. Last I checked, he was simply a U.S. Senator and candidate for his party's nomination for the presidential election in 2008.
Am I missing something? Is there something so important about this one particular candidate over all the others? In fact, why should any candidate receive secret service protection? This is not some rant, this is a serious question.
This is supposed to be a country based on democratic principals as expressed through a republican form of government. This is not supposed to be monarchic society, there are no lords or ladies, nor are we supposed to be creating an oligarchic society where there is a class of people who are deemed the leaders.
Yes, I suppose there is the argument that we live in a world where there are terrorists, people who walk into dorms and shoot people, and general misanthropes. However, I do not see why we should say that elected leaders are somehow so irreplaceable that we need to protect them to an extent that we are forced to abridge our rights and personal freedoms solely to accommodate their security.
Very few people are irreplaceable. It does not seem that the ones who would count in the irreplaceable (say Einstein for instance...), does not get the secret service protection.
But there is another reason I am not happy with this obsession about security. Now, I am not advocating that we just throw caution to the wind. However, it seems that everything that this country does lately is governed by the dictum that no lives may ever, ever be lost and if there is a loss, then that means failure. For more than a century and a half, people from this country attempted things. Initiatives were embarked upon, and followed through upon, even when there was a loss of life.
Am I advocating a Stalinistic callousness towards the value of human life? Not in the least. But we are, or have already, developing a culture in which the primary value is life itself rather than quality or experience that life represents. In a way, we are becoming like the technologically superior side in the Arthur C. Clarke story "Superiority".
Now if I could find a way to withhold that portion of my taxes that goes to the Secret Service operations that protect people I would.