I don’t have security clearance, and probably you don’t either. So why should regular folks like us be concerned about revoking security clearance for this country’s top and most experienced intelligence leaders?

When stuff hits the fan on a national and international level (and there is always such an event right around the corner), we want information. Solid information to make the best decisions for the security of our country, our children, and our businesses. We want people who have been there.

When decisions are being made, we want the wisdom and experience of intelligence agents who have served both Democrat and Republican administrations to lay out the options. Denying them a seat or even an invitation to the table is foolhardy.

Still wondering: so? Let’s take it down to the hearth level (that place around the kitchen table or in the local diner where we talk about the stuff that really impacts us personally).

Revoking the security clearances of our past security advisors is as catastrophic as finding a fire in your kitchen and locking those with experience handling such disasters—the firefighters—out in the garden. “Oh, I can take care of this,” you say, waving a Twitter dish towel at the flames. And then: whoosh.

Besides endangering the physical security of all of us, this political move by the Trump administration launches us into moral peril as well. In a democracy, to silence someone for political reasons is the biggest of no-nos. That is what dictators do first: get rid of or discredit those who oppose them (the press, protestors, the opposing party). Then there is no one to speak out for the little guy (you and me).

There can be no freedom in this corrupt way of ruling. And America stands for freedom. We let people express themselves without repercussion. In fact, through the Constitution, we guarantee that right.

Still, you say, what’s the big deal? We live in the heartland or on the coast, we drink Starbucks and pick tomatoes, those guys getting gagged aren’t us. But they are.

Because we might be next.

A farmer fed up with his crops lying unbought and dying in the field because of tariffs might join a convoy of tractors to protest until an immigration agent shows up at his door and questions the legal citizenship of his farmhands.

Or a restaurateur who loves to tweet about “the swamp in the White House” might find her business of sudden interest to health inspectors or tax auditors.

Silencing others for political reasons is corruption. There is no other word for it. And in a dictatorship, corruption spreads like wildfire.

Anyone got a dish towel?