Too much is causing a crisis which we may not survive.
There are two things which are making life in America a thin shadow of what it once was. One is inevitable and the other is a self-inflicted wound. But together too much news and too many laws are destroying our country.
We have had a 24 hour news cycle since CNN arrived in 1980. Hard as it is to believe, before CNN, network news consisted primarily of two 30 minute blocks which covered all we needed to know each day. Most cities also had two daily newspapers which provided the information in depth which didn’t fit into the broadcast slots.
Jump forward to today and we cannot escape news. Surprisingly, the explosion of air time has created an even bigger explosion in the number of stories to be covered by the ink and electronic media. Add the pajama wearing bloggers, and you have a tidal wave of information.
The problem this exposes, which probably existed before but was unknown to us, is there remain more stories than available time to tell them. This overload of stories requires someone winnow the news so that it can be sent out to the consumer.
Editors make daily decisions about what is and is not published. They are guided by experience, taste, fashion, and personal opinions. It is possible, but unlikely, that editors can sort through all that comes across a desk and sort out the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Inevitably editors pick stories that they feel are more important or just need to be heard. And if a story will make the world a better place, it should be pushed forward, just as an inconvenient one can be spiked.
In short, some editor at the New York Times decides what we the people need to know.
Because of that, the American public knows all about the Kardashian’s but nothing of Kermit Gosnell. They are told that the Tea Party is a dangerous crowd of domestic terrorists, but are unaware of the Administration using the IRS to target political groups which oppose current policies.
We are told that the tragic death of one African-American in Florida is a national disgrace, but never learn of the deaths of thousands of African-Americans in Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans. Bottom line, there is so much news, someone is deciding what is news and what is not.
Likewise, there are so many laws that it is impossible to enforce them all.
Many years ago, we learned from Schoolhouse Rock how a bill becomes a law. This is one of the primary responsibilities of Congress. However, in addition to the legislative branch, the executive branch is continually publishing rules, regulations and policies which carry the same weight as Constitutionally created law.
For every piece of legislation which goes through the process of being passed by the House and the Senate and signed by the President, there are myriad regulations enacted by the EPA, DOE, DOL, IRS, etc., etc., etc. The unconstrained proliferation of rules rapidly gets to the point where there are not enough enforcers to assure compliance with them.
Just as one fire engine can managed a fraction of the responses that 10 fire engines can, limited law enforcement resources can only respond to limited lawlessness. To manage this mismatch requires “someone” to determine what crime will be suppressed and which will not.
We all would agree that murderers should be pursued harder than jaywalkers. Between those extremes the choices become more difficult. Similar to the issue with unlimited news stories which must be triaged, we are at the mercy of the leaders who decide which laws will be enforced and which ones will be ignored.
Our current administration is using this imbalance to wield laws that already exist to punish those persons and positions which are on the opposite side of the aisle. Immigration, tax reform, environmental policy, personal property law are all effected by this.
Our current leadership, the ones who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, can honestly say that they are enforcing laws that are on the books. They won’t tell you about the laws that are on the same books which they ignore. They are, in effect, deciding what is “the Law” by cherry-picking their pet regulations.
One of the majestic strengths of our Republic is that for over 200 years, we have seen the United States as “a nation of laws” rather than one ruled by the whim of man.
We are on the precipice. Sen Ted Cruz has stated, only slightly tongue in cheek, “We are still a nation of laws. I wake up every morning to see what Obama says is the law.”
Cruz knows, as do many other Americans, that it is a danger to the stability and security of the country if there is confusion over what is sanctioned and what is not.
Of these two trends, the most dangerous for our country is the information overload which allows a very small group of issue shapers to act like a Ministry of Truth.
The American character is to do the right thing. The problem is knowing what that is.