Everything in This City Must

Before returning to the U.S., the author is asked what he’ll miss about living in Leipzig, Germany and discovers that the answer is complicated:

“Why do I live there, I then ask myself. The recent revelation that the TSA may record every phone call, and hopes to record social media interactions as well, suggests we’re now a nation of suspects—America has become one big terrorist watch list. Everyone is on it. As I think about expatriating, if only to object to a life inside that complex, I know, if they’re monitoring me, it won’t matter if I expatriate. It would only continue, perhaps even increase, the move confirming whatever theory had put them onto me, should that even be the case. It would be enough that I would find it objectionable, and it shouldn’t be.

“I think of the Chinese dissident who, when he learned he was being spied on by the state, said, ‘I’ve been trying to get them to listen to me for years.’ If they were spying on me, I would want to take the TSA on a tour through the Stasi museum.

“See all they did to try to control their citizens, I would say.

“See how it failed them.”

Published: May 14, 2013
Length: 22 minutes (5,641 words)
Read the story