When news broke of the government's spying on the lives of everyday citizens, my first reaction was disdain.
After all, going after suspected terrorists is one thing. Going after my emails and cellphone info is quite another.
I'm still troubled by the government's increasingly cavalier attitude about our privacy — and Barack Obama's hypocrisy on the issue.
Yet I can't help but think we are also to blame.
We are increasingly a society of exhibitionists. We live in an Instagram world where people routinely share everything from the mundane to the tragically personal.
Privacy — a right treasured for generations and protected by the Supreme Court — is a value that children of the cyber-age barely appreciate.
Weeping about a painful breakup? Tell everyone on Facebook.
Pleased that you lost a few pounds? Tweet out a picture of your new slimmed-down bod.
So what if your boss, grandma and church friends see it, too.
We're actually teaching our children to tell the world where they are, what they're wearing and what's going through their mind. All in real time.
But it doesn't stop there. We surrender our privacy to corporations for marketing purposes as well.
If you claim you don't, you've never done a Google search.
I have. That's why ads tailor-made to my searches pop up on my computer. If my wife didn't already know what I was up to, she'd get easy clues by looking at the ads that fill my screen for New York hotels, Las Vegas restaurants, triathlons and adventure races.
Our world is so increasingly transparent that I assume most anything I write anywhere can somehow, someday go public.
Yet, with all that said, those decisions — to share, reveal and expose — should primarily be ours. Not the government's.
Before he was president, Senator Obama claimed to agree. He railed against invasions of privacy back under George W. Bush, declaring: "No more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime … No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."
Yet now we've learned that the government has been sifting through millions of records belonging to citizens who are no more connected to terrorism than my kids are.
It's gotten so extreme that even members of Congress at the highest levels of national security are now questioning the actions of their own government.
Democratic senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado — both members of the intelligence committee — have been alarmed enough that they have begun warning citizens about "back-door" searches the government does on its own citizens.
Part of me remembers what my mother used to say whenever we'd pass a cop: If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.
But back when my mother issued those warnings, the concept of probable cause was a standard cog in the American wheels of justice.
And when even those on the inside say the government is going too far, I get concerned.
Listen, I understand the deadly complexities of fighting evil in the 21st century. There's a trade-off between security and privacy that I think most Americans are willing to make.
But we deserve to understand what those sacrifices are.
And if we really care about privacy, we should act like it. Because screaming about invasions of privacy rings hollow when we're surrendering so much willingly.