The Ad Council, a non-profit organization known for its socially conscious public service announcements, has launched a new campaign highlighting freedom in America and the danger the United States now faces due to post-Sept. 11 legislation. The ads are effective and give the eerie sense that the scenes they portray might not be too far down the road.
The most recent ad, simply titled “Library,” illustrates a scenario that may soon come to pass: a college student approaches a librarian and asks her for help in locating some books. Sadly, she informs him the titles he wants are no longer available. Then, there is a slight pause and she asks, “What’s your name?” As the student attempts to leave, undercover agents apprehend him. The screen goes blank, and a tag line that is more of a warning than a statement appears on the screen: “Freedom. Appreciate it. Cherish it. Protect it.”
These ads are the most recent public service announcements produced by the Ad Council, which has been responsible for all kinds of public service announcements including ones on drug abuse and forest fires. The current ads promoting freedom should be noticed by every American and should make people sit up and take notice. Their message is clear: If people ignore the government infringing on their freedom, that freedom will soon cease to exist.
The ads beg the question of how far is too far? Legislation allowing CIA agents to kill American citizens living overseas if they are suspected of working with al-Qaida goes too far. Also, recent laws mandating registration by males from five Middle Eastern countries is extreme.
No one in America was unaffected by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But to squelch people’s freedom in the name of national security is not only un-American, it is unethical and unwarranted. Someone needs to draw a line in the sand and refuse to cross it. The Ad Council is ready to stand its ground.