Political activist group Restore the Fourth has successfully adopted the highway near the Utah NSA data center. This offers the group a variety of opportunities, from having its name on signs surrounding the center, and to holding picket signs while cleaning the highway. In the current government-versus-people environment this move by Restore the Fourth has been successful in expressing their ire for government intrusions on privacy and its blatant disregard for the Fourth Amendment.
Over the course of the past few months, more and more tyrannical actions by the federal government have been revealed. First it was IRS targeting and data leaks. Then it was the AP phone scandal and NSA surveillance. Drones have been a consistent issue. Most recently, it's been vindictive actions during the government shutdown.
This has raised the question of how citizens can oppose the government. Protests are a start, like the protests on Washington D.C. over the weekend. Lawsuits and political campaigns are necessary, but their outcomes are ultimately controlled by the government in many ways. The new media has been vital in spreading information, but it needs to be coupled with an effective course of action.
It is becoming necessary to oppose – in a nonviolent manner – the government's increasingly blatant violations of American rights and freedoms, but harder than doing the actions is simply coming up an effective strategy. Restore the Fourth has put a good idea into action.
According to their Facebook page, the organization – which describes itself as a non-partisan, non-violent, nationwide advocacy and protest movement demanding an end to the unconstitutional surveillance employed by the US government – successfully applied this month to take over maintenance of the the highway around the Utah Data Center via the Adopt-a-Highway program.
At the most basic level, this will put the group's name on signs leading to the center. Members will also be able to picket and protest while cleaning the road. On the more effective level, this gives the group 24 hour access to the highway, meaning it will be able to quickly see basic changes in what is going on there and learn some more about the organization and the people who work there.
It may not be much but it is a significant step in the right direction. Simply making work for the government more uncomfortable or unpleasant can have a major effect on the country as a whole. Ultimately, stronger and more direct forms of civil disobedience can be adopted, such as the idea of destroying drones which some towns are already contemplating.
At this point in history, citizens feel that it is necessary to oppose the government on a practical level, such as civil disobedience. Restore the Fourth's adoption of a highway goes a step beyond a normal protest and allows 24 hour access to the already-problem-ridden Data Center. Activists feel that if similar actions became widespread, and were taken against all government impositions on the local, state and federal levels, the political landscape of the US would change dramatically.
I spoke with Restore the Fourth's Utah representative Lorina Potter to ask her a few questions about the grassroots organization. Listen below.
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