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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Walter Cronkite shares his thoughts regarding today's media

In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith.
James William Fulbright

Walter Cronkite, one of this nation’s most beloved and respected Journalists recently expressed his concerns on Media Channel regarding the serious stifling of news reporting in America today. In his speech, the retired CBS anchorman lamented the 'dumbing down' of today's media. He also intimated his dismay that never before in US History, have American Journalists been more intimidated and unwilling to challenge the current powers that be.

America's Journalists seem oblivious to the reality that they are the only insurance the public has against utter and complete hegemony rearing its ugly head in the Whitehouse and in Congress. We can only lose this country if we remain silent. Such complicity can only lead to usurpation of the core principals which this country was founded upon. According to Mr. Cronkite,

"As I've said on other occasions, the strength of the American system is possible and can be nurtured only if there is lively and provocative dissent. In a healthy environment dissent is encouraged and considered essential to feed a cross-fertilization of ideas and thwart the incestuous growth of stultifying uniformity."

It is my hope that people will read Mr. Cronkite's prophetic warnings and realize the eminent danger facing our Democracy. Our Republic is at serious risk of being hijacked by well-meaning but misguided souls led by others with less noble intentions, bent on implementing a status quo tailored to suit their narrow agenda. If they succeed with this power grab, their efforts will not be rewarded by stability. Rather, their zeal to ‘protect’ the institution will prove to be it's very undoing.

In a call for unprecedented spirit of collaboration, Walter Cronkite encourages journalists and the Media Channel readership to use this nexus as a point to exchange uncensored information. When a nation can no longer openly discuss political, ideological, religious issues without fear of reprisal, it is at serious risk because it is no longer capable of protecting its weaker members from the strong. It is incumbent upon each of us that we keep all lines of communication open especially in light of the curtain of censorship that has recently descended upon journalism owing to corporate influences whose bottom lines do not necessarily coincide with the cherished principals of our Republic and the institution of Democracy.

It is important we debate and celebrate our differences openly. Variance over such perspectives becomes unhealthy for this nation when collectives pursuing their particular agenda have an undue advantage in asserting their will. When such groups implement their platform of ideas to the exclusion of others, they undermine the democratic process. Save for her Native American population, the United States is a nation of immigrants. This melting pot's unique cultures provide a wonderfully varied mix of ideas and world views. We hail from different regions across the country, regions which define each of us individually and as communities. We have a duty not only to respect them but to embrace them because that is the true definition of being an American. Out of sheer interests of self-preservation, we are compelled to uphold such tenets. For to ignore even one group of people's value will lead to this Nation's experiment with Democracy to reach an untimely demise. By remaining silent we foster an environment that opressively divides and conquers the many at the hands of a few.

America, it is time for us to take our country back. It is imperative that each and every American becomes aware of just how precarious America's future is at this crossroads in time. It is incumbent upon us to assert our right to exist free of fear because our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights and our Constitution guarantee that right.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.
Barbara Ehrenreich


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