In 1967, the citizens of Arkansas received the finest gift that a benevolent government could bestow. That was the Freedom of Information Act. Through the ensuing years there is no telling how much public corruption and governmental misdeeds have been revealed through the use of the FOI by the citizens and the press.
Unfortunately, in the ensuing years it seems that every time the Legislature had been gaveled into session it has passed laws amending and reducing the effectiveness of this act. We have been suffering a death by 1,000 cuts.
Thinking of this I am reminded of an old joke. Question: "How does a used-car salesman say "F#@% you?" Answer: "Trust me." The Legislature has been telling the Arkansas citizens "Trust me" for decades. It is high time that we, the citizens of Arkansas, take the original, unedited by the Legislature, Freedom of Information Act and enshrine it as a constitutional amendment.
All in the messaging
Politicians often try to dress up their ideas. Rs have been far better lately than Ds.
Pollster Frank Luntz was responsible for many of these. He helped turn estate taxes into "death taxes." He noted the term climate change was less scary than global warming and suggested questioning the "scientific consensus." In 1994 he worked with Newt Gingrich to develop and hone the "Contract with America." Cutting Medicare became: "We want a solution that preserves and protects Medicare."
Luntz believes strongly in the power of words. In an interview a reporter said, "You believe language can change a paradigm." His response: "I don't believe it, I know it." He didn't just work for politicians but also for corporate America. He called oxycontin a miracle drug and developed messaging about "addicts" to cover for its addictive properties.
In 2020 he had a stroke and a bit of awakening, Now horrified by the current state of affairs in America, he still does not seem to acknowledge his own culpability. Afterwards he told a British audience, "Be thankful that you don't have our poison ... I'm very afraid of the American system being hopelessly damaged." Earlier this year, he told Canadians, "This is my warning to Canadians: Please, Canada, don't follow America."
Our own governor is a disciple of Luntz. She has even improved upon some of his messaging. Luntz told Republicans not to talk about vouchers, but instead school choice. Sarah improved that to "parental choice." Who could possibly be against parental choice?
Now she turns transparency in government into a "security" issue. Voters should know about state transportation, and who else rides for free. Since she can't sell the opposite, she changed the game to "security." Obviously we must make sure that we don't find this information out even after the fact, because lord knows who might be able to travel back in time and threaten her security.
No example of divine
Strongmen and dictators in the United States and other countries skillfully use propaganda, lies, threats and violence. In 2023, Donald Trump lost his rape case to E. Jean Carroll in civil court and currently faces 91 felony charges--even as he is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for the White House. He wants to avoid jail and he has stated that we won't need another election in this country if he wins.
The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, passed unanimously by the Senate, contained language stating that "the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." But Donald Trump was held up as an extension of divine will and was embraced by the evangelical community to fulfill biblical prophecy, though the Treaty of Tripoli still stands so all can worship in America.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary and current governor of Arkansas, supported magical thinking when she said that God "wanted Donald Trump to become president." She echoed a belief of many Republicans who accept Trump as a divine power and part of a master plan.
But his words and actions contradict the Bible. According to the Bible, we are called to treat the sick, the hungry, the poor, the imprisoned as Christ loved us. Trump is self-centered, boastful, dishonest, abusive to women and people of color. He worships materialism and turns a blind eye to refugees. He claims no policies for another presidential term, but desires revenge for those he sees as his enemies. On Truth Social, he wrote of the Department of Justice, "If you go after me, I'm coming after you!"
But Billy Graham said that once we have experienced God's forgiveness and grace in our own lives, we should treat others the same way.
We can't afford that
The letter to you by Roger Marsh of Little Rock succinctly explained why we are running on "empty."
In the 1950s it was determined that people needed to ride in private vehicles on well-designed and free streets or highways without encumbrances like strangers sitting near them. The message was "See the USA in your Chevrolet ..."
Railroads were torn up, bus services were unfunded, and people started driving, one person per car, on our highways. Gas was $0.19 a gallon and getting to work took an hour or more, sitting in traffic, trying to earn enough to buy a car with AC.
That day is gone; we can't afford it, as attested to by Roger.