"Salt is good; but if salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?" Luke 15,34
Debate is good; but if we all have lost all taste for it, how shall we bring it back?
These have been days of breathtaking revelations:
-unshackled IRS agents enjoying conferences, building their fiefdoms and pensions, yet still dedicated to secretly keeping our nation free from grass roots conservatives;
- reporters spied upon;
- NSA secret "metadata" on everyone, everywhere;
- limited congressional and secret federal court oversight of secret operations about which Congress and the courts are allowed to say little or nothing.
These revelations are spurring various debates.
And yes it most certaintly is time to have a debate on the issue of the security and privacy mix- but it seems much of Washington has since September 2001 lost the sense that we the people might need to know more than we do now.
Admittedly, we know little about the major issues of our day.
We know that war against Afghanistan started twenty six days after September 11, 2001 and that Congress passed the unread Patriot Act just forty-six days after.
We know so little about this like we knew not that on November 4, 1999 commercial and investment banking were allowed to join, just like that, after being separated and protecting investors for sixty six years.
(But do we know yet that this is related to the Wall Street Bailout in October of 2008?)
Likewise, even to this day we know very little about what's in the "Affordable Care Act."
Dear Washington- there's not going to be much to our present security-privacy debate until we hear more about the secret programs that are exercised in our name and for our benefit.
How can we have a healthy debate based on occasional leaks, ACLU Lawsuits, and journeymen and women in the alternative media?
But these are strange days- when Bill O'Reilly, Shepherd Smith at Fox News and Alex Wagner at CNBC are sort of singing in the same choir.
And they too want to know more and have a more open debate.
Praise the Lord.
If we are all going to pay attention to this debate for longer than a smiling media clip, both Washington and we as informed citizens are going to have to conciously seek and then accept a new and more open political climate.
There's a slow food movement- with smaller portions- and openly disclosed knowledge of what we're eating.
How about a slow politics movement, with digestible goals and a committment to telling each other what's being served up in our name?
How about laying off the metadata and the droning, in favor of more conventional methods like observation and regulated borders and visa compliance?
We are also going to need congressional hearings about what works best and what is too invasive as to reigning in terror.
And how about stepped up sunset provisions for certain aspects of the Patriot Act and related legislation?
And how about a federal legislative cooling off period in which the entirety of a bill that concerns privacy-security is be made public prior to congressional voting, and then publicly voted on (by roll call) between the modest hours of say 10am-3pm.
Yes, let's have the debate. Perhaps we will learn from it that we are living in a day when open politics is the best politics and also the best way to protect our safety and freedoms.
And before we have the debate, and as we do, here's some fun debate prep for all of us in the good old USA: read Pultizer prize winning author Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" published in 1935.
Yes, let's have the debate, read Lewis' book, and speak up for the freedoms we hold dear (and pray too), so we as a people don't lose our salt, and our taste for free debate itself.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...