The five o’clock whistle is on the blink/ the whistle won’t blow and whad’ya think?
I fondly recall these lyrics to a popular World War II song about factory workers unknowingly working overtime because the whistle didn’t blow to signal the end of their shift.
This time the whistle did blow, thanks to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, but the bosses still won’t let the workers know it’s time to quit.
This courageous whistleblower who revealed to his fellow Americans that they are being spied upon illegally by their own government is accused of “spying” by the bosses. Is that not an egregious example of Orwellian “Newspeak,” or have I sunk to the depths of unpatriotic nihilism? I’d say the former, wouldn’t you?
The bosses, i.e. the political elite, speak with one voice. They want you to ignore the whistle that signals your constitutionally-protected right to privacy is gone and just keep working as though it’s still there.
This WW II song was popular in its day because it was a mild satire on the fact that all factory work was for the “war effort” and sometimes the eight hour workday was forgotten by the boss. The opening to the song ends with these words:
My pop is still in the factory ‘cause he don’t know what time it happens to be.
Edward Snowden did blow the whistle on the government’s trampling of our constitutional right to have private phone, e-mail, and other forms of communication. His revelations may well be the “11th hour whistle” for our democracy.
Toward the end of the song, there’s a telling question: Whose gonna blow that whistle? Well, Snowden blew that whistle and the American people must let the bosses know, from Barack Obama on down the political line, that we know “what time it happens to be.”
And if they refuse to listen, it’s time to get angry, get organized, and find some new bosses who know how to respect the whistle that is our Constitution.