Ron Paul


 …has very little to do with what I’m going to talk about in this post, but I notice that his name is a great attention-getter in the search engines these days.  This may be because his libertarian stance strikes many people as what the Republican party should be about.  If elections happened on the Internet, he could maybe even have a shot at the nomination, and at the potential vote of left-of-center people like myself.  Ah, well.

 No, today my blogging efforts will revolve around the larger theme of integrity in public places.  

Maybe the Larry Craig thing has triggered these thoughts in part; but really, the fact is that all of us have both a public face and a private face, and  it is a rare thing for those to be the same, especially for people who fall into the most valuable category I first heard mentioned in a college history class, those who talk for a living:  lawyers,salesmen, preachers and politicians. 

 The words echo in my brain:  ”There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, nor hid that shall not be known.”  My childhood religious training almost automatically interprets this in light of another text:  ”Be sure your sins will find you out.”  More and more, I’m getting to think that in the long run, both of these are good news.  

We live in a time when secrecy has a holy flavor to it.  Secret meetings, secret warrants, covert operations, undercover intelligence, highly classified plans; we get a shiver of comfort, maybe, thinking that someone, somewhere, is secretly taking steps to protect us.  We hope that’s true, especially when we see so little you could put your finger on.  Some take great delight in knowing that even the chairman of a Congressional committee can’t find out what the Executive branch plans to do at the time the next major terror attack occurs. 

My two cents on the matter, though, is this:  Secrecy is un-American at its root, and un-Christian at its core.  As a pastor once said to me, the Devil does his work in darkness.  Democracy cannot survived when only the elite, the in the know, the (presumed) experts, have access to the information on which decisions that affect us all are made.  It is everyone’s patriotic duty to find things out.  Whether it be Joe McCarthy’s secret list of Communists, or the cobbled-together evidence that Colin Powell, to his everlasting embarrassment, tried to sell to the United Nations,  the society drives toward a cliff when its fuel is secrecy.

It’s especially dangerous when those who want to keep secrets from us (ordinary people) also have both the will and the means to know just about everything that can be known about us.  An asymmetry is born which is the stuff of tyranny.   When that trend has fully taken hold, democracy will be a fading memory, and all of us will have reason to live in terror.

I think Ron Paul might agree. 

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