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Commentary & Opinion
Tue July 17, 2012
Paul Elisha: Three unspeakably precious things
Despite our current national addiction to I-Pods, Face Books and Blogs, in many ways we Americans still mirror countless other cultures and countries. One such resemblance verges on superstition, in our slavish dependence on words that convey special powers; vintage expressions like “Open Sesame,” for instance… the magic password to certain nirvanas we’ve designated, that have survived time to convey special meaning.
This is particularly noticeable in our politics. Political spin-doctors zero in on magic passwords with an impunity born of total belief in the power of unlimited and unidentified dollars, to open any political portal. This exemption from ethics has been amplified by a biased Supreme Court, that has now endowed dollars with the same miraculous magic as the persuasive power of speech. A decision designed for disaster.
Centuries earlier, George Washington envisioned and decried such a debacle. As General of the Continental Army, in a speech to his officers, Washington warned that when ordinary men are precluded from expressing their sentiments on matters of serious consequence, “…reason is of no use. The freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent, we may be led like sheep to the slaughter.” In a pertinent sarcasm, many years later, the inimitable Mark Twain wrote: “It is by the goodness of God that in our country, we have three unspeakably precious things: Freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
Bluntly put, if the great mass of ordinary American voices are silenced and overridden by the combined money and volume of sanctioned corporate cacophony, George Washington’s warning will have become a tragic prophecy for national disaster, we dare not allow to happen and must make every effort to prevent. This desperately needed national reversal will depend on the combined voices of ordinary and extraordinary Americans, in a nationwide chorus of complaint… powerful enough for every member of Congress to hear and heed, with meaningful legislative action, regardless of party affiliation.
The ‘High Court’s’ horrendous miscarriage in judicial chicanery cannot and must not be allowed to become an “Open Sesame” for the destruction of American speech, as our founders not only meant for it to be spoken… but heard.
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