Real Life in the Real South

While We Were Sleeping

Did you get a good night's sleep last night?

I hope so, because it may be the last one any of us get in a while.

"Why?" you ask.

Because things in America are headed down an uncertain path.

No. I am not debating the issues regarding the war in Iraq although they are extremely worthy issues and concerns.

I am, however, sharing an unsettling attempt by the United States Senate to prevent American citizens from knowing what they are doing in Washington, D.C. and anywhere else they roam around "on our behalf."

It's entitled: "S.1 To provide greater transparency in the legislative process".

"Transparency". Interesting choice of terms.

Here is some of the language for defining grassroots lobbying according to this proposed bill:
"(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same."

Well, we certainly can't have that - now can we?

Is it my imagination or wasn't is the original intention (ahem, perception) that senators and congressmen are elected by American citizens to represent those very citizens as their "public servants"?

That is to say they serve the public, right?

Correct me if I'm wrong here.

However, it appears that these very senators that have been elected by the public - to serve the public (not to mention that they are paid by the public's tax dollars......ahem....minor detail, mind you...), [back on topic] well..... they don't like it when We, the People, find out what all they're doing and no longer want us to be told about it because they are tired of all of our emails and generally disrupting their day.

Imagine that?

Wonder why that is?


They got together and decided that they would write up a little ol' bill (Senate Bill 1, Section 220) that, if passed, would prevent the mass notification of the public about their decisions and goings on.

In other words, the U. S. Senate has somehow forgotten [?] (for lack of a better term) that they don't have a choice but to be held accountable by the very public they serve. Well, they can't exactly deny the information (though they do a great camouflage job - er, "transparent" job) - but they definitely want to make it difficult for Americans to find out about what all they're doing on the job - knowing that most American families are working day and night to take care of their families and make ends meet and generally don't have a great deal of extra time left over to check up on Washington. (Convenient, huh?) So if they can stop organizations like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association and others like them from keeping America informed - well, there's just no telling what all they could accomplish without having to respond to emails, letters and whiny, demanding phone calls from, who else?

We, the People.

Question: Could someone explain to me what the difference might be between the American Family Association and others like them notifying you and me about our government's work and, say...... The Augusta Chronicle reporting it, or The Washington Post or even CNN?

Or are they all next on the bill writing agenda?

If you aren't outraged at such a notion and attempt - you need to check your pulse.

This is a huge red flag (among many) waving under every American citizen's nose this very moment. Would it be so terribly bad for all of us if 2007 becomes the year that "serving the people" returned to the job descriptions of those in public service?

Want to know more?

CLICK HERE to go to American Family Association's information about this bill.

CLICK HERE to go to Focus on the Family's petition against this attempt by our elected senators.

CLICK HERE to contact your senators.

To do nothing will only continue the subtle chipping away of our Constitutional rights while we're all sleeping.

An admendment to this bill has been introduced by Senator Robert Bennett and co-sponsored by Senator Mitch McConnell that would strike Section 220 and remove it from the bill. The amendment could come up for a vote on the floor of the Senate as early as next Tuesday. Please call your U.S. senators and urge them to support the Bennett amendment (amendment 20) to S. 1.

Harriette Jacobs
South of the Gnat Line

HT: Leslie

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Connor Threlkeld
Connor Threlkeld 01/12/07 - 02:36 pm
Interesting topic of

Interesting topic of discussion. I definitely was not aware of what you've described, and I have not read into it as much as you have, but I thought I would bring up one point.

I believe transparency, as used in this instance, does not have the same meaning you refer to. If it did, it would be like naming this bill the "Let's screw America" bill, which would draw a lot more attention.

In this instance, transparency refers to having things out in the open and fully disclosed. It's often used in reference to the media, and can be seen in this example from the Columbia County News-Times, in which an article written about a newly chosen chairwoman discloses the fact that she happens to work for the company that owns the newspaper. Instead of keeping something under wraps that might cause concern about the quality of reporting, it uses full disclosure to provide a greater measure of credibility.

Again, not discounting the rest of your comments, and I agree they are a source of concern, but I do not believe the use of 'transparency' in this instance is a matter of concern, even if it does otherwise seem a little ironic. Thanks for keeping us informed on the issues that should matter to all of us.

Harriette 01/12/07 - 05:15 pm
Even more ironic is that the

Even more ironic is that the actual definition of transparent carries two meanings that in many ways offset the other - at least in the political world. The second definition that would be applicable in the case of the proposed bill: "free from pretense or deceit" had me roaring with laughter considering the origin of the legislation - our government.

However, I have to ask [anyone reading this] how is attempting to prevent organized grassroots efforts gaining freedom from pretense or deceit? Sounds more like prevention of accountability.

It remains an interesting twist of vocabulary.


Connor Threlkeld
Connor Threlkeld 01/14/07 - 12:38 am
FYI: You'll be pleased to

FYI: You'll be pleased to notice an editorial on the topic in Sunday's Augusta Chronicle. I'm glad the word's getting out.

Harriette 01/14/07 - 04:12 pm
That is excellent. Thanks

That is excellent. Thanks for letting me know. I hope Chronicle readers will feel strong enough to make a few phone calls or generate letters in the days ahead.

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