I fear we as Americans have lost it.
When Google unleashed its Google Earth app, I knew immediately that I was no longer free from the government's watchful eye.
Satellites capable of watching our every move have been around for years, but it didn't really hit home until the free app for my iPhone unveiled the rest of the world to me. At my fingertips was the ability to look into anybody's backyard.
I can sit on my couch and get a birds-eye view of my sister's second home in Cape Coral, Fla., where we sat on their colored Adirondack chairs last August; or look at my parents' home in Hamburg, Iowa, where my dad's greenhouse now sits abandoned; or at my kids' homes in Iowa.
Wait! Is that my grandson in the back yard?
The data is not live, which is somewhat of a relief.
The copyright at the bottom of the Google Earth page is 2013, but the images appear to be a year or two older based on what improvements have been made to the homes upon which I "spy."
The government — and probably the tech savvy — have the capability of watching our every movement.
To do so requires a court order, supposedly, but rules are made to be broken.
Sad, but true.
I joke that every time I leave my condo somebody is watching.
I don't think it's a joke any more.
The latest brouhaha over the NSA and allegations of "spying" only strengthens my argument.
The question is, however: Am I, or you, willing to sacrifice that slice of anonymity for a safer America?
Are we willing to give up a little of our privacy in the name of national security?
There is little doubt that the 9/11 atrocities stole our national security virginity.
We are not the same nation as we were before. We are a paranoid nation today, afraid of our own shadow if we believe that our phone records and tax returns are compromised; that drones can be used to spy on Americans.
There is a deepening mistrust of government. The public's opinion of Congress is waning. Depending on the source of information, as much as 64 percent of likely voters rate Congress' performance as poor. Only 6 percent give Congress good or excellent marks for the job its doing.