Collective Silence

quiet zoneThere are two issues in the political world right now that I find incredibly concerning: the sequester and the intention to allow drones over U.S. soil.  Both of these are extremely troubling.

Due to a priority of party politics over actually leading the country, the congress and senate have allowed the sequester to take effect: as a result a number of services will be cut, many people will lose their jobs or face furlough, jobs that might have been created will not be, and a good chunk of change will be kept out of the economy.   Why are we, as Americans, accepting this from our elected officials?  Why are we not moved to action?

At the same time, there is a move by the Obama administration to allow drones over U.S. soil.  How can we allow Americans (even when they are accused of associating with terrorists) to be killed by their own government without due process?  Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the government has no “intention” to execute drone attacks in the United States.  But “intention” hardly seems like enough.  I worry this is one small step toward the slippery slope that is the total surveillance of “Big Brother.”  Second Amendment rights will hardly matter in world in which anyone who appears threatening to the government can be struck down with no warning and no due process.  Now, I know that I am sounding extreme and alarmist here, but I do so to make a point.  Change happens one small piece at a time; if we accept drone surveillance now, it will be harder to protest and easier to accept attacks on U.S. citizens later.  And while I have heard many people express their concern on this issue, we, the American people as a whole, are quite.

Why are we collectively silent?  Why are we not moved to the streets by these events or others of equal concern?  Is it because, as political scientist Robert Putnum suggested, that we no longer have social structures through which to mobilize?  Is it because, despite its appearance of connecting us all, the internet actually isolates each of us in the solitude of our own living room?   To be sure, there have been outspoken individuals on these issues and coverage by the media.  However, there is hardly enough noise to suggest that elected officials take these concerns seriously.  It seems there is a sense that the American public will eventually forget and allow business to continue as usual.  What will it take for us to end our collective silence?

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One thought on “Collective Silence

  1. I am also confused by our collective silence, but I don’t feel like collective noise has much impact either. I remember all the collective noise against the Iraq invasion (36 million people worldwide demonstrated, according to Wikipedia) and I remember the end result, the administration did what it was going to do anyway. I think, unfortunately, that money is the only voice left in politics. If only we could find a way to silence that.

    Perhaps, my personal cynicism is why I like to see revolutionaries that haven’t lost hope in idealism.

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