Parade Spectators

Parade Spectators

Another one from the NYC LGBT Pride Parade, 2015.

It was Fourth of July yesterday. I had the unfortunate pleasure of watching the "news". On CNN and Fox News, "anchors" asked each other and their guests, "Why do you think America is the greatest country in the world?" Answers were pretty much, "because everybody wants to come here", "because anyone who works hard can 'make it' here" - the "American Dream" arguments - and "because we have freedom of speech here (and nowhere else)".

Here's the problem. The question itself is loaded. Is America still the greatest nation? Racism is rampant. Our imperial ambitions are leading us to perpetual wars, invasions and conflicts all over the globe. America is among the most unequal of developed nations. We are among the least informed citizens. News has become entertainment. The U.S. is de-facto ruled by corporations - not the Congress, not the Executive Branch, not the Courts. We lock up our citizens more than any nation. The police in America are the most triggerhappy in the world. Dissent is increasingly criminalized and those who speak the truth, marginalized.

"Freedom of speech" is meaningless to those who have nothing worthful to say. It has become a buzz concept hijacked by propagandists who hide behind it to disseminate all sorts of lies. They incessantly talk about "our freedom of speech", knowing full well that they collectively control all significant platforms of information flow - television, cable, newspapers and major websites. If they did not, today, any truly critical speech would be banned in a heartbeat.

So yes, there is the "illusion of freedom of speech" in America, but we no longer have the actual thing. Not when it comes to things that really matter. Paraphrasing author Garet Garrett: "The art of government has become a popular exercise to outsmart the Constitution and circumvent its restraints".

Also, the opening scene of "The Newsroom" is well worth watching.
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