Wednesday, July 29, 2015

These Dreams

Last night, I dreamed I was attending a local town council meeting, along with several other reporters. I don't recall what was so important that it required a slew of media, but one item on the agenda caught my eye.

It read, "What to do about Anita."

When the item came around, the members excused themselves without reading any kind of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) notice (the law requires members of a governing body to cite the FOIA code before entering any closed session).

Another reporter asked me if I knew what they were doing. "I don't know, except they are violating FOIA," I replied.

Council returned. On a motion they declared me persona non grata, and said I was no longer welcome to attend or to write about any of their meetings.

"You have caused nothing but trouble with your reporting," the mayor said. "You find the things we don't want the public to know and tell them about it. Please leave at once and never return."

"You can't do that," I replied. "You made that decision illegally, in an unannounced closed meeting. You just violated the law."

"See," said the mayor. "That's just the kind of thing you do that we don't like. You make us follow the FOIA rules. Nobody else cares what we do. Now get out."

I began arguing more and two deputies came in, grabbed me by the arms, and began dragging me out of the room.

I woke up in a sweat, literally drenched. Even my hair was wet.

______________

Now, you may wonder what prompted such a dream. I suspect it came about because I am no longer freelancing for the local newspaper. I have done that for the last 30+ years of my life, but my doctor and physical therapist convinced me that I needed to stop. Attending four-hour meetings, devoting my life and time to intense government conflict, seemed to make my health issues worse. I'd kept a pain chart for the last several months and it was noticeable how the pain increased when I worked.

To be honest, my doctor told me almost two years ago to stop working, and I didn't listen. I didn't do as much, but I didn't stop writing for the newspaper.

Now I have.

The dream also reflects my dismay with the state of the news in general. These days our media are filled with reports that are full of lies and deception. Mostly, the "news" now is entertainment, things written to play on emotion and not intellect. We have become a society guided by emotional, thoughtless turmoil, reacting to the latest screeching of the day. Last week it was a restaurant owner who yelled at a kid. This week it's a dentist who killed a lion. But do we do anything or read about things that matter? Where are the stories about abject poverty, the struggles of the single mother or father, the real unemployment numbers (today's numbers don't reflect people who have given up), or the real state of the economy.

No, our media has given us a false world, full of illusion and drama, in order to keep us from watching what is really going on. It is not the government that doesn't want you to know - it is the rich and powerful individuals and corporations who want to change the government who don't want you to know what is going on.

Secrecy is a detriment to democracy. It is how plutocracies and oligarchies come to be, and how fascist regimes rise to power. When citizens stop paying attention, and when those who represent the citizens such as the former Fourth Estate (aka news media) cease doing their jobs, then you have a rupture in the system. Through this rupture slithers greed, malice, and contempt. Once those have taken over - and they have already taken over - then it's all over but the shouting.

That is a lot to get from one little dream. But real dreams are dying every day, and those are the things the newspapers and media are not reporting. Little by little, democracy is dying every day.

1 comment:

  1. A powerful post with a lot of truth that needs to be told! Thank you for writing it.

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