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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

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Voice of Dissent

Cindy Sheehan - a grieving mother whose son was killed in Iraq - has drawn national attention as she has decided to camp out in front of President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch. She wants a direct meeting with the President where she plans to ask him some tough questions including why his daughters aren't serving in the military in Iraq if this is such a noble war?

Thus far, the President has refused to meet with her and appears intent on avoiding such an encounter. However, he finally spoke directly about it yesterday when he resolved to stay the course in Iraq. He argued that to withdraw the troops from Iraq at this point would be a mistake.

Ms. Sheehan's story has now been picked up by the mainstream media because she is speaking out against the war. Ms. Sheehan represents a long-standing tradition which is a constitutionally protected right under the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In short, it guarantees that American Citizens are protected from tyrrany by their government. It does not look like Cindy Sheehan is going away anytime soon.
The rest of this post is a celebration of the First Amendment and quotes from various people regarding Americans who voice their dissent in opposition to their government

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.
James W. Fulbright

Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.
Hubert H. Humphrey

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
Edward R. Murrow

There are men - now in power in this country - who do not respect dissent, who cannot cope with turmoil, and who believe that the people of America are ready to support repression as long as it is done with a quiet voice and a business suit.
John Lindsay


At Fri Aug 12, 04:30:00 PM MDT, Blogger Beaver said...

What a great post !

It's time the families who've been feeding the Ogre Bush started talking. Unified action might be louder though.

Hmmm... maybe something to be followed-up ?

At Fri Aug 12, 05:05:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...


Actually, on the blogosphere in the US, it is a major story. Just about everyone is talking about it. My reason for addressing it here is because it serves my purpose of defending my right to dissent. Since you have been following this blog and Johnny Mango’s ‘Albloggerque’ blog, you know what I am talking about. Right-wingers and people who feel their interests are threatened do not like dissenters - I prefer the term, ‘voices of conscience.’ But they will disagree. This is why I chose famous people from all walks of life and different political persuasions who said something about dissent. I quoted a Republican President, a US Senator, a NYC mayor and a well-respected journalist in hopes that those who seek to silence me understand that dissent is a necessary part of the democratic process, Dissent ensures life for our republic.

While the Sheehan story has garnered top-billing lately in the MSM. It is difficult to say where it is going. This administration is slippery.

The Bush Administration asserts pretty tight control over the mainstream media. This is something that took them a while. Thanks to Karl Rove, they accomplished this unbelievable feat by being very secretive and selective about which news they want covered. Then they took punitive actions against any journalists that wrote anything the neo-cons considered bad press by restricting their access to the Whitehouse or any other government controlled locales – such as the Iraq battlefield. You may have noticed we never really ever see any pictures of wounded or dead American Soldiers in the field. Despite war’s graphic nature, none of that coverage is hitting the American public. Such pictures and film are only available via the internet from foreign news services. The neo-cons are acutely aware of the negative implications that were carried when such pictures began to show on the six o’clock evening news in the Vietnam era.

Add to the tactics of restricted access and selective release of information, a sympathetic collection of news agencies that are controlled by people who share the neo-con ideology at the corporate level and the MSM is left with their collective hands tied behind their backs. They value ratings and money more than they value truth. Now this is a broad sweeping statement but I think it is extremely accurate. There are still a few brave souls out there as journalists but the vast majority have been intimidated into submission..

Unfortunately, the cajoled media isn't putting up much of a fight these days and that is why i wonder how long this Sheehan story will last.

The media is very forgiving of Bush and thus once he makes any kind of response - whether it is stupid, incomplete or deliberate deception, the media really doesn't aggressively pursue anything that will interfere with their profit. no reporter access = no profit.

At Fri Aug 12, 10:58:00 PM MDT, Blogger Beaver said...

Arf... I guess this issue is less to me because I don't have to deal with right-wing radicals who try to shut me up. That's why I think what you do is so important and useful.

You know, before the war began, Canadians massively protested so that our government wouldn't dispatch troops or support the war, and roughly made it.

We heard through the press that the stars were protesting, but as far as the public mobilization was concerned, there only were unconfirmed rumors of some manifesting movement in NY state.

This says a lot about public expression in the US, the flow of information, and how even foreign (albeit neighbouring) medias are unable to report about the anti-war movement, if we put aside the Hollywood movement.

You know, I have the benefit of watching 4 different news reports in my living room everyday, and I don't even have satellite TV :
* French-canadian news
* English-canadian news
* CNN and the likes
* French/European news

I never cease to marvel at how different the reports are, from one channel to another.

Disinformation is everywhere, my friend. Awareness is becoming more and more an issue, and people like you are becoming key actors.


At Sat Aug 13, 04:33:00 PM MDT, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

I can only agree with what you say, Beaver. This is what make the Blog world so important. If one truly desire to be educated about our country and how we are supressed, this is the best place to come because nothing is censored!


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