Just last Friday, walking down the street, I saw a handmade sign above a dumpster warning passersby not to deposit their trash there. "Smile. You're on camera," said the sign. A few minutes later, reading on my phone, I came across a comment on a story about the NSA that quoted a computer firm executive as telling a crowd at a lecture he was giving, "You have no privacy. Get over it." Then, about twenty minutes after that, I went to send an e-mail on my computer and a little window popped up informing me that Safari, my Web browser, wanted "to access" my stored personal information. Allow request or deny request? There were buttons for both options. I pressed Deny. The window popped up again. Allow or Deny? I pressed Deny.
The window popped up again.
I pressed Allow.
I decided to smile. I decided to get over it.
All of this happened just a couple of days ago, but already I feel different, like a new person in a new world. I feel mature, realistic, reconciled. I feel less isolated and less anxious. I plan, from now on, to go about things differently and acknowledge the new order.
I will keep my opinions to myself online.
I will keep my opinions to myself when speaking to anyone who goes online or who speaks to anyone who goes online.
I will speak on the phone only to people who keep their opinions to themselves, and hang up on them if they don't.
I will buy nothing online or with a credit card or in a store that keeps electronic records of its sales or in a store that uses security cameras that I am not absolutely proud to own, and absolutely happy for everyone to know I own.
I will pay my taxes to the last penny, and then I will pay a penny more, just to be safe.
I will donate to good causes, conspicuously.
I will donate to both major political parties, conspicuously.
I will, at least once day a day, be it online or on the phone or in the company of someone who goes online or speaks on the phone, condemn our enemies and support our leaders.
I will obey the laws, all the laws, even the dumb ones, even the ones that seem unenforceable, and I will associate only with those who also obey them.
I will smile even when I feel troubled, and when I notice others acting troubled, I will tell them to smile, to get over it.
I will always, when given the option, push Allow.
I will hide nothing.
But I will conceal everything.
I will be a good American.