You Can’t Have It Both Ways

Sorry America, it just won’t work

You can’t have a completely transparent government AND covert operations at the same time.

The scandal-du-jour from the radical right over the government confiscating Associated Press records had more to do with a national security leak than government strong-arming the press. Some things need to stay secret, such as the British Intelligence agent whose cover within Al Qaeda was blown thanks to an over-eager journalist who was thinking more about his byline than the safety and security of a man providing important information that would benefit both Europe and the US.

This is equivalent to “outing” James Bond to the enemy.

If Americans want true transparency without risk, we would be better off overturning Citizen United and revealing who made out some very large checks to certain PAC s. Following the dollar trail of big money in our politics is something I would love to see. More transparency from huge corporations who pay little or no taxes due to a generous tax code is also something that should be seen by everyone. Or how about some record of what lobbyists are courting our representatives in Washington?

We live in an Orwellian world where things that should be kept safe are revealed in the name of “transparency” and yet those things that should be revealed are locked away from viewing. Common sense is long gone from this country and those with the loudest voices are the ones who get their time in the media. The voice of reason and compassion, the voice that wants facts over fire branding, that is the voice that is silenced. We have no comprehension of what should be kept private and what is acceptable for public disclosure.

During World War II the US printed propaganda posters warning “loose lips sink ships” and other consequences of talking out loud in public where anyone can hear. We should be grateful that cell phones, Twitter, and Facebook weren’t around then or we surely would have lost the war.  The conversations I have heard in the middle of public places are astounding; I’ve often thought of walking up to someone talking business very loudly on their cell phone and taking notes on their conversation. I’m sure their competitor would love to buy the notes from me with all the information this person is leaking in public. Too much transparency.

But when it comes to our government, the right-wingers demand that everything be laid out and this is where it interferes with our ability to conduct covert operations. As long as we have the military, the FBI, and the CIA, there will be secrets and those secrets must be protected.

Like spoiled children, those on the far-right pick and choose what issues provoke their temper tantrums. Ensure austerity measures with sequestration and hurt our emerging economy recovery? Sure, gladly. That is until their Congressional representatives are inconvenienced by slower security lines at the airport; then see how fast they vote to restore that funding to fix it. That’s pretty transparent right there.

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