Monday, October 1, 2007

Musings: Omissions

The monks demonstrating in Myanmar offer an excellent example of spiritually-based protests against the government. We may not be there yet on Kauai, but we’re learning, and people are genuinely motivated to engage in civil disobedience with aloha.

I’ve talked to a number of people who feel sorry they yelled at passengers on the ferry, but not one that regrets adding their voice to the chorus of boos directed at Gov. Lingle at the supercharged meeting on Kauai.

I was glad to see the Advertiser yesterday finally reported on the threats Lingle made at that meeting — a story that broke here on Sept. 22 and was picked up and expanded upon in blogs authored by Ian Lind and Larry Geller.

By distributing a double-sided threat sheet listing all the penalties facing folks who don’t obey the “unified command,” and issuing her own warning from the podium about investigations by Child Protective Services, Lingle set the bellicose tone of that meeting.

Had the newspapers and TV stations reported that information, it would have gone a long way toward explaining the ire of the crowd that night. Instead, its omission allowed the media to portray us as a rude, rowdy mob that that launched an unprovoked attack on Lingle. That scenario casts her in the role of hapless victim, and thus builds public sympathy for the guv and her buddies at the Superferry.

Now you’re getting da hang of da spin.

Meanwhile, it appears the "unified command" is still preparing to do battle against the people of Kauai. A very reliable source reports the Coast Guard has 10 rigid hulled inflatables hidden behind trucks and shipping containers at Nawiliwili Harbor.

One of the more ludicrous reasons I’ve heard advanced on why Kauai residents shouldn’t complain about the governor’s stance on the Superferry is just 55 percent of our eligible voters cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election. If you don’t vote, the “reasoning” goes, you have no right to complain.

Under the flawed logic of this argument, everybody had better shut up until we have 100 percent voter turnout. And those who have no voting rights, such as children and people who live under dictatorial regimes, had best not even think of speaking up at all.

It sounds like a great way to make sure no one ever questions the government. Just keep giving us junk candidates we don’t want to vote for, then tell us to pipe down when we complain about the actions of those we didn’t choose.

I’m often surprised at how willing some of my fellow citizens are to advocate measures to stifle dissent that are more draconian than those instituted by our increasingly repressive government.

Fortunately, our First Amendment right to free speech isn’t dependent on either the approval of the citizenry or our presence in a voting booth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched the video of the meeting and I loved Ray Catania's comments to the Governor. Keep up the good work, Joan.