Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Doorman's Wisdom

I haven't gotten political on this fledgling blog, and in fact I've been advised not to get political for fear of putting off some clients or prospects. But this is just one man's blog, right? Plus, in a country that's more polarized than at any time since the Civil War, you'd kinda expect me to fall on one side of the political fence or the other, eh? (Lastly, this new blog has a teensy-tiny readership, so what's the harm?)

Anyway, for future reference, I am a social liberal, fiscal conservative. I've been registered as a Republican, an Independent, and (currently) a Democrat. A "blue-dog Democrat."

The doorman in our San Francisco building, Frank, is a cheery guy. He's tall, rugged, got 6 kids and freely admits in his thick Hispanic accent that the quiet of the lobby is a nice break from his crazy household. Everyone likes starting off their work day by getting that cordial, genuine smile from Frank.

But today he looked kind of sad as he greeted me from behind the pages of a newspaper.

"Why so glum, chum?" I asked.

Frank (shaking his head): "This president, these politicians. They use that 9-11 as an excuse for everything."

"I agree, but what are ya gonna do?"

"I am going to vote for the first time. And when my kids turn 18, I am going to make sure that each of them registers to vote, too."

Well, that's one good thing about a closely-split electorate, I think to myself: everyone wants to make sure their side wins, so the disenfranchised population that could be counted on to ignore politics is now empowering itself.

As a communications guy, my professional worries stray toward First Amendment issues.

The clamping down of dissenters by the Right - using a combination of intimidation (see: Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill...and the author of the newly-published Imperial Hubris, who sadly but wisely chose to remain "Anonymous" and is already being painted as a bitter crank on some cable news outlets) and, legislation (see: Howard Stern and the FCC, Michael Moore and the FEC) makes me fearful for the future.

The ability of the Administration and its cronies to silence or discredit or scathingly de-position its critics is hauntingly efficient: as a PR pro I can appreciate its cold efficiency but as a patriotic American I am chilled to the bone.

Combine this with the Administration's skilled use of secrecy (witness today's Supreme Court ruling regarding Cheney's Energy Commission) and ye can get a little daunted, woolly-headed.

A cool blog to check out, if like me you find yourself leaning more Left than usual, is Talking Points Memo; if you like it, from that blog you can also access other high-caliber sites.

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