Young adults have healthy attitude toward privacy
Many of America's young adults were too young to remember the former Soviet Union's dreaded KGB. A knock on the door in the middle of the night, a neighbor making an unfounded accusation, or a tapped telephone conversation meant people disappeared.
And that was it. Officially, they ceased to exist.
Too young to remember, yet this group between ages 18 and 29 voted overwhelmingly in an Associated Press- Ipsos poll against our government's involvement in an electronic monitoring program that is but a step or two behind what the KGB did.
Their bi-partisan response to the Bush administration is for the government to do the thing right, follow the law, and safeguard individual privacy.
For convenience, the National Security Agency began bypassing court permission to eavesdrop on suspected terrorist conversations and e-mails. The shortcut had nothing to do with fighting the war on terrorism even though President Bush says his mandate from Congress authorized this action, when it gave him permission to take the fight to terrorists.
Even if he's correct, the 56 percent of all respondents to the poll don't approve. Older Americans felt less threatened with the shortcuts because of their fear that terrorists will strike again. Younger Americans, though, apparently understand the delicate boundary line between following the law long-term and potential abuse.
Ours is a nation of laws that must be observed if they are to be preserved. A majority of Americans wants this shameful practice stopped because the administration has a lawful way to pursue its goals. The American majority doesn't like the idea of police-state tactics.
The results of the poll are a healthy sign that our people, after initially ceding some individual rights to government, understand that accepting this type of unlawful snooping is a victory for terrorism.