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Is the issue freedom of the press, or just freedom?

May 30, 2013

Unless you having been living in a biosphere on another planet, you are aware that there seems to be a slight disconnect between the right of the press to gather and report on news, and the administration’s desire to suppress unfavorable stories.

Likewise, anyone mature enough to put aside their political bias and examine what is happening, not just with the issues surrounding the press but with the IRS overreach regarding conservative groups applying for nonprofit status and the reported targeting of other conservatives, should be asking when it became the norm to suppress civil dissent in the United States. 

All administrations have had issues with being questioned or made to defend their position. There have always been people and organizations opposed to whatever party was in office, and sometimes, the only way misconduct has come to light is through the efforts of investigative journalists or ordinary people speaking out against injustices. That is what keeps our particular government model operating. Our representative democracy isn’t perfect, but it has served the country well when it operates the way it was intended to operate.  

The so-called system of checks and balances the founding fathers envisioned when they set up bicameral legislative houses and separated the executive branch from them isn’t effective today, and probably never was.

What keeps the government somewhat honest is the fact that people can openly disagree with and question policymaking and demand answers to those questions. Yet we have career diplomats being demoted for daring to tell the truth, and campaign contributors to the “other side” being targeted by a government agency than already has a recognized power to destroy people’s livelihoods,  and dismantle institutions with the stroke of a pen.

We have the  current attorney general of the United States Eric Holder, demanding meetings with journalists to set guidelines of some sort, and insisting those meetings should be “off the record” meaning that the self-same organizations that are supposed to report on that as news are enjoined from doing so. 

This isn’t a matter of partisan politics.  It is a matter of whether we have become so inured to dictatorial behavior by our government that we are willing to give up basic freedoms to keep the peace.  No matter your party affiliation, no matter your political biases, this should raise the hair on the back of your neck.  Today it is conservatives under fire, tomorrow it could well be YOU. 

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