Our government promised us “a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.” Instead, it invokes national security concerns as justification for rejecting an increasing number of Freedom of Information Act requests, aggressively punishes whistleblowers, and rules by executive order to avoid collaborating with Congress. Just as my recent article was meant to call attention to the teachings of America’s immigrants, we must now consider the moments in history to which they are referring in their testimonies.
The Soviet Union had Glavlit, the central censorship agency that monitored print media and shut down publications at the first sign of political dissent, allegedly for the sake of national security but in reality to ensure that intellectual output met party standards. A paper by Arlen Viktorovich Blium and Donna M. Farina (1998) about Soviet censorship directives outlines a few of the topics that were forbidden from publication, including unemployment statistics and information about economic crises, the party affiliation of convicted criminals, trip schedules of government officials, and anything that might challenge atheist propaganda (under the guise of separation of Church and State).
Does this sound familiar?
The drone program is perhaps the most salient talking point in the current national debate, and the disturbing ease with which the administration embraces secret law is a strong enough indication that we are on an incredibly slippery slope that has destroyed the lives of far too many in history to be ignored. Of course, I am also referring to misrepresentations and discrepancies in pre-election unemployment figures, the mainstream media’s failure to report the political affiliation of criminals such as Christopher Dorner, the lack of access granted to the press during Obama’s travels, and the erosion of religious liberty through mandates that undermine the Christian Church and religious organizations, a tyrannical fire that has spread with the fuel of media-driven ridicule. Though my argument is brief, the list of Soviet-style parallels to the current-day administration will continue to grow rapidly as long as destructive policies are forced into fruition.
It’s time we see all this for what it is: censorship.
In a 1935 speech about labor and productivity, Stalin announced: “Life has improved, comrades. Life has become more joyous.”
President Obama has told us in recent years that we are doing just fine, despite the opposite conclusion reached by pesky credit rating agencies – but judging from the economic conditions of our president’s home state, what’s not to trust?
Written by Alissa Tabirian