Quotable Murrow

Lee and I saw “Good Night and Good Luck” in the theater tonight, and I enjoyed the movie on many different levels. As a former journalist, it was very entertaining to watch all the behind-the-scenes action, from the familiar equipment to the familiar arguments. I enjoyed learning more about that time in my nation’s history. But I also enjoyed hearing intelligent discourse on some of the same topics I struggle with today.
Ever since 9-11, I feel our country has been ruled by fear. If you want justifcation for something that might be a little dicey, just scare the crap out of people. When people are afraid, they’re more willing to make sacrifices to feel safer.
This whole government eaves-dropping thing has gotten me a bit riled. It’s not that I think eavesdropping on the conversations of terrorists is a bad idea. It’s that our president appears to have decided he didn’t need to work within the checks and balances our forefathers instituted. This eavesdropping may have stopped some horrific plot, and that’s truly fortunate. But I’ll bet our government could’ve listened to the same conversation and stopped the same plot by getting an emergency court order to do so – without circumventing the law. If the “War on Terror” can be used as justification for our president to have carte blanche authority to infringe on whatever civil liberties are in the way, then we’re in for a long, ugly downward spiral as a country.
And I can say whatever I want about it – because I’m an American. And not agreeing with the president doesn’t make me any less loyal.
I don’t have anything to hide. If the government tapped my phone, they’d be bored to tears hearing about my baby and my kitchen. But the point is – I don’t live in a country that allows my government to spy on me without proving to a court that there is a good reason. At least, I hoped that was the case. And Guantanamo Bay? Locking people away on mere suspicions and associations? Scary stuff.
A couple of quotes from the movie really struck me:
“We proclaim ourselves, indeed as we are the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”
“He didn’t create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully.”
and finally
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak, and to defend the causes that were for the moment unpopular.”
But aside from my government’s actions, I’m also disheartened by my own inaction. I’m not happy with what is going on, but I’m also not doing anything about it expect whining on the internet. I vote. But these days, that doesn’t seem like enough. I applaud Murrow for his courage, but it also magnifies my own lack of ambition to seek real change.