BOSTON (CBS) – Think back to the days following 9/11 and the debate over the Patriot Act. It was a time of uncertainty and unease. And as a result many people believed it was worth losing some of our liberties if it meant keeping the country safe.
That view has changed dramatically since then – mainly in the last few months – as we’ve all come to realize the extent to which the government is snooping on us.
The latest revelation came Thursday with a Guardian newspaper report about another NSA program that tracks your internet use.
Well low and behold more Americans are now concerned about their privacy than their own security.
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds 56-percent of Americans believe the federal courts fail to provide enough protections from phone and internet surveillance.
And for the first time in the ten year history of the poll, more people say the government has gone too far in restricting civil liberties than say it’s not gone far enough to protect the country.
Is anyone in Washington paying attention to this?
They better be.
While this evolution has cut across party lines, the survey finds the change has been most dramatic among Tea Party members.
And that could have major political implications come election time.
Remember, these programs began – or were continued by – President Obama, who has told us to trust him on this.
But perception is reality in politics. And if people decide they don’t trust their government it could mean bad news for the president’s party.
Not fair, you say. Maybe not. But fairness never had anything to do with it.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz