Thursday, March 02, 2006
While many people say they have skeletons in thier closet, I actually do. They are from a 1987 british expedition that went in to cataloge indigenous wildlife, and never made it back out. I still find pit helmets from time to time. My closet isn't really that bad (they all made it back alive), but I always thought it was funny how in my home everything would be nice and clean except for the closet and the garage.
It was odd, we had a living room, family room, and a kitchen that would be spotless; but the closet and garage would give a fire marshall night terrors. The answer for why is really a simple one: company doesn't go into the closet. They don't look in the garage. Since no one would see it we made no effort to manage it, and any previous attempts at order and civility quickly were overrun with the ease of irresponsibility; since the mess was already there, no one felt worse for adding to it. If we had glass walls, I 'm sure it would never have gotten that bad, we would have been too ashamed of it.
Unfortunitly, this same attitude has taken root in our country. There seems to be growing sentaments that actions taken in the war on terror need to be kept out of sight of the world. Secret prisons, unwarrented wiretaps, withholding the right of habeas corpus, these are things that we are now threatend by. Are they truly neccesary? Are they worth it?
The beauty and tragic flaw of our society is our openess, liberty by nature provides an opportunity for evil men to do evil things. But of all the flaws for a society to have, few, like this openess, are more noble. We have an opportunity to show the world that even when we are threatend, we can respond with the same values, concerns, and integrity that we have shown throughout our history.
By drawing a black curtain over what we do, by blanketing our efforts against terrorism in secrecy, we cut ourselves off from our greatest strengths, accountability. While certainly there are some secrets that need to be kept (how to build bombs, security around vital installations, etc.) the more open we are, the better job we will do. Why? Becuase if we as a people, and the world at large, see how we treat our citizens and how we treat enemy combatents, we will work far harder to be more responsible and more accountable.
Honestly, were they not required to report numbers, how many people would be home taught each month? How many would do homework if the teacher never collected it? How much time would you spend preparing for the day if you KNEW no one would see (or smell) you?
The government derives it's power from the people, and so, we the people are responsible for it's actions. We have a duty to ask questions, we have a duty insist that the higher ground is taken. Just like a garage that keeps getting more stuff piled in, the longer we let this go, the harder the task and bigger the mess we will have to clean up. And no one will be to blame but ourselves.