[internetworkers] "Real ID" bill - was W Visit to Raleigh
beeline at mindspring.com
Tue Feb 15 11:45:49 EST 2005
> Not that the entire topic should be dismissed out of hand. But you
> really have to believe the mainstream press (and the rest of the fringe
> press!) are utterly bought and paid for, to think that we'd all be kept
> in the dark on this. Color me skeptical.
You think the press would have to be bought and paid for to maintain silence on this?
"The press" is not a Magical Priesthood of Knowing Everything -- the individual members of the press are and have always been just people, products of their times, subject to fear and hubris, with limited effect (along with page space/airtime around the advertisements). "The press" is concerned with the immediate, the flash and dash of today's life. Why does blood lead every time? Because that's what people pay attention to. Why don't we get in-depth coverage of stuff like budgets, etc.? Because that bores people. We've been dealing with *mass* media for the past umpity years. Let's see if the new media makes it different! (Which reminds me, the talk by Dan Gillmor yesterday was most excellent. Thank you Paul!)
(In the interest of full disclosure: I was a newspaper reporter/editor before single parenthood forced me into a better-paying, regular-hours technical writing career. I loved news back then, but have since become rather disgusted with the profession. Dick Wesley, my first editor, would have joined me in that disgust, if he'd lived to see this day. Dick would have also laughed at the suggestion that a large group of individual members of the press could join in any conspiracy -- there's the matter of an innate inability to keep secrets for any length of time whatsoever (sources are a different matter). And as for exerting control over any group of reporters... I remember hearing Dick growl about herding cats whenever he had to do just that, with only a few more than a dozen writers. So, he'd agree with your skepticism, Jim, and probably would tell you that you had good instincts, in that gravelly, smoke-rough voice that I miss so much.)
But back to this collecting of power into the hands of the POTUS....
Consider the times (1933 to now). I don't know exactly what the public discussion was like back then, but the economy was horrid and life was scary -- citizens probably felt that the state of emergency declaration was overdue. Then we went to war and, well, presented a united front, so no disagreements were aired. Then there was the Red Scare, when disagreeing with the government lost you your job and maybe even got you thrown in prison. Then it was the 60's and then Watergate taught the press that it was once again OK to criticize the president -- half a lifetime later.
Now, those who were children when the SoE was declared are busy shuffling off this mortal coil while the ones who actually did it (and maybe even argued about it) are long gone. In the meanwhile, the knowledge of our "state of emergency" could quite easily pass from a commonly known fact to a background prop, like the bit-of-sand irritant in an oyster that over time becomes a smooth pearl, easily ignored by the oyster.
1. It would not be (rarely is) in the interests of those who would maintain power to divest themselves of any power, particularly that accrued by the previously powerful. (The fact that G. Washington was able to turn his back on the power he held as president is still awesome. Can you think of even two modern equivilents?)
2. Psychologically, adults are not comfortable with change, particularly of things that they grew up working around/with/through/in spite of.
3. Now it's only the paranoid fringe who remember and are concerned with this gathering of power, and they are dismissed easily (as Jim has illustrated).
Only simple and quiet words will ripen of themselves.
-- Tao Teh Ching
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