“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts, there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.” ― Winston S. Churchill
The one question I keep asking myself is, “what are they afraid of?” By “they” I mean this administration and other pockets of government around the country. Sure nobody likes bad press, and indeed, media will always go after the low hanging fruit first. People like scandal, they like salaciousness, and they like the thought of conspiracy theories, so those are the items that take the lead on every editor’s calendar. That’s always been the case, no matter the politician there is always an antagonist in the press.
I completely get that politicians and the media have always had a love-hate relationship. It’s usually a symbiotic affair, both feeding off of the need to be recognized by the other. Now there seems to be a new order, one that has political leaders deciding who is and who isn’t allowed to report on their actions. Where longstanding, mainstream media outlets are pushed aside for more clearly biased and favorable organizations.
The fact many of our elected officials are now openly refusing to meet with constituents and participate in town halls makes the animosity with the press that much more concerning. We have elected officials who do not feel obligated to the public either in person or through the media. We are being told that as American’s we aren’t smart enough to question them ourselves, or intelligent enough to decipher through any potential biases in reporting. That all of this is to protect us from ourselves and the evil agendas of those tasked with reporting.
It’s this simple, if the elected official isn’t responsive to anyone, they aren’t subject to anyone’s scrutiny. Not answering CNN’s question today means they won’t have to answer yours tomorrow.
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
Add this to legislation that is being debated all over the country that will limit protests, putting more restrictions on what is and isn’t allowed, and you begin to have a recipe that is pretty close to fascism. All the tenets are there, the temperature is right and there seems to be a large number of people in the country who like the smell coming from the kitchen. First Amendment violations be damned.
Can media reporting be biased? Yes. Does false information get released by the press? Absolutely. Can protestors get out of hand? All the time. Do town hall meetings sometimes devolve into shouting matches and gotcha moments? You bet. As American’s however, we should be smart enough to disseminate all of this and come to clear concise conclusions.
The fact that media can be biased and release false information is easily resolved by the fact that there are so many media outlets. We have the capability, now more than ever before, to collect large amounts of data and reporting in seconds and compare and contrast the articles, videos, and statements to get a complete understanding. It’s not fake when the majority of mainstream media is reporting the same thing over the course of weeks. It’s not biased if the reporting is factual and accurate. It’s not misleading if it’s the truth.
The answer to a protest that may have gotten out of hand is not to legislate against public discourse. The solution is to address the problems that people are so frustrated about. To give disenfranchised and marginalized groups the same outlet to voice their concerns as every other American. Turning on your fellow citizen simply because you don’t understand their struggle is exactly what those in power want us to do. If we as the constituency can’t agree on what problems to address as important, the elected officials don’t have to work toward fixing anything other than what the lobbyist and special interest money tells them to.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis
If we continue to allow these leaders to ignore, avoid and dismiss us, democracy and this Republic is lost. If they continue to feel as though they don’t have to answer to us no real change for the better can happen. If they don’t answer to the voter, who do they answer to?
Dismantling the First Amendment is not the answer to any of the problems we face. For the last eight years, there was a movement in this country that fought almost daily to protect their view of the Second Amendment. Why isn’t there such a movement today to protect the other 26?
We must cease being so presumptuous as to believe fascism can’t happen here. It is happening here, faster than maybe even I realize. Question everything, fight for everyone, blindly follow nobody.
“Another fact that allowed Fascism to gain power over men was their blindness. A man cannot believe that he is about to be destroyed. The optimism of people standing on the edge of the grave is astounding.”– Vasily Grossman
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A.K.A. "The Hillbilly Heretic" I am the Politics Editor for The Good Men Project and a Political Contributor for Playboy.com and Playboy Magazine. My work can also be seen on Babble, Fatherly, and a few other sites. You can find me on TheHillbillyHeretic.comTwitter or on Facebook