Virtually every time a totalitarian regime has subjugated its own people, the process began by warning them dire consequences would result if the government was not permitted to take small steps to safeguard the nation and its people. Objectors were told times had changed since their countries' founders had installed safeguards for personal liberties.
Now President Barack Obama is telling Americans, "We have to make choices as a society."
He is right, but not in the way he intended.
Obama was responding to criticism of the government's action in secretly seizing telephone records on millions of Verizon customers. There is an excellent chance your phone records were included.
What the president meant was that Americans, in his opinion, should make the choice to give up some of our privacy in exchange for government's promise to protect us. The phone records were needed to investigate potential terrorist threats, we have been told.
Anyone in law enforcement understands looking at that many records is a fishing expedition - an investigation in the hope of catching someone doing something wrong, but without specific evidence.
Americans already have given up some of our precious liberties. Now Obama demands even more.
He's right. It is time for us to make a choice - to take back the freedoms that make us Americans.