Sunday, September 25, 2005

Deep Thoughts

First, the wiki entry for Jack Handey to give credit where credit is due. Besides, haven't you heard, the A-Team is legit.

On a more serious note, a Congressional hearing was held last week entitled: Political Speech on the Internet: Should it be Regulated?

There are at least 18.2 million blogs as of this writing, though I appreciate Roberta's shout out. And I'm not the only candidate/elected official intrepid enough to share my thoughts online either - then-mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski posted here once, despite my support for Mayor Ford. Which only goes to illustrate the small-d democracy of the blogosphere, anyone with an opinion can add their comments here. (though if you use an obscenity or intentionally misspell names, I'll delete 'em)

My inspiration for over a decade has been Vaclav Havel. After reading Summer Meditations, I found myself constantly measuring my actions against his words. It's not easy, and I'm not perfect.

One of my goals for this blog has been to gather ideas and criticism about policy in Toledo, which is simply an extension of offline conversations and meetings. For example, one of the brightest minds in municipal government, Ford Weber, handed me a report a couple weeks back, entitled Turning Around Downtown: Twelve Steps to Revitalization released by The Brookings Institution. Again, we should measure the actions of public and private sectors locally to the recommendations of national experts. Are we doing enough to entice people to live downtown? For our downtown merchants and businesses to be successful? What is the right mix? Who can we approach for greater investment? How do we capture the vision and rally people and resources over the long term?

2 Comments:

Blogger liberal_dem said...

The question, 'Political Speech on the Internet: Should it be Regulated?', begs the larger question, 'Free speech: are there limits?'

Why did the writers of our Constitution quickly amend this document to include the right to freedom of speech? Why did they insist on the words, 'Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press?' What had they learned about governing bodies that precluded these freedoms and why did they insist on insuring that these freedoms be freely given to the newly formed government of our nation?

Clearly, the answer was that monarchs and other unpleasant ruling scoundrels had summarily hung those individuals or groups who would have dared spoken against their ruler. I would guess that such public displays of authority would keep the lower classes from wanting to engage in further activity of this nature.

The Nazis and similar fascist groups learned the value of regulating free speech among the people that they wished to control and, in fact, took it to a higher level: propaganda. An administrator of Goebbels once wrote a paper entitled, "Propaganda: A Matter of the Heart, not of the Understanding!" Indeed not of the understanding!

Fast forward to the year 2002 when the Bush Administration , collaborating with the naïve press, propagandized the need to conduct a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq to remove those vacuous WMD's from the clutches of the madman, Saddam. One could easily paraphrase the Goebbels administrator's paper to fit the Bush Administration's plan thusly: 'Propaganda: A Matter of Patriotism, not of Understanding.'

As I spoke to friends and acquaintances during this troubling times, we would often use the phrase, 'the dumbing-down of America.' As I look back now from a more clear perspective, I should have used the term, 'propagandized Americans,' which would have been much more correct in hindsight. The Bush Administration in [hopefully] blind collaboration with the press, put out a strong message to the citizens: the President and his advisors are absolutely certain that a pre-emptive war on Iraq is necessary to assure the safety of the American people. Further, the message contained both subtle and overt implications to the citizens that, if one did not agree with this conclusion, that those people were both unpatriotic as well as traitors. Goebbels would have been delighted with the results of these tactics had he been in charge.

To the question which Frank proposed I offer this question: If the regular press and other media have been duped or coerced into following the so-called government spin, and if there is a group of citizens who know that this scenario is being played out, what options do these people have in trying to get out their version of the situation? It seems to me, Frank, that when the media is not able to fully inform the citizens of what the king, President, or other unpleasant ruling scoundrels are up to, then these same citizens have not only the right but the duty to be able to tell their version of the events.

And today, the internet and the blogs seem to be filling this void most comprehensibly. Surely, when one sees so many people trying to limit or censure this electronic form of freedom of speech, one must surely realize that the suppressors do not want such information to 'get out' to the public. Do I recall that President George W. Bush once quipped, 'There ought to be limits to freedom?'

9:17 AM  
Blogger Lisa Renee said...

I think the notice by Roberta is deserved and you are one of the first and even when I don't agree with you? Still one of the best bloggers who is in office.

I don't feel we should be regulated as small regular bloggers however when a blog gets to the point where it is making thousands of dollars and endorsing politicans then it might be time to consider counting that as a political contribution.

Else we are going to see both Democrats and Republicans use blogs to further their agenda and avoid contribution requirements.

10:10 PM  

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