The Fifth Estate


“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.” 

–Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785.

 

If one “googles” Thomas Jefferson and “freedom of the press” one finds a myriad of quotes from the second president, author of the Declaration of Independence, and founder of the University of Virginia. Mr. Jefferson understood the importance of having a free press as a “fourth estate” of checks and balances on the Federal Government. His concerns that lack of a free press would lead to tyranny and the situation that we are in now with regards to one of the branches of government becoming too powerful over the others was very prescient, to say the very least.

In the United States today, we have a media that is controlled by corporations that are, for the most part, controlled by other entities that profit off of war. NBC is owned by General Electric that is a major war profiteer (which used to be a crime punishable by hanging). The corporate media has a lot at stake by keeping the wag the dog occupation of Iraq afloat on BushCo’s failed ship of state.

The inadequacies and sycophantic nature of the press towards the Bush Regime are legion, but Dick Cheney was recently interviewed by Wolf Blitzer and instead of asking the Vice commander in thief about his connections to the obscene war profiteering company, Halliburton; or his being comfortable with surging more troops to Iraq when he had 5 deferments during the Vietnam conflict; or how he said the insurgency was in its final throes; or how his office was connected to outing Valerie Plane, Blitzer asked Dastardly Dicky about his gay daughter’s pregnancy. Wolf almost wept with fear when the puppet master attacked him for asking such a question.

Besides a free press, another supposed check and balance on limiting executive power to its proper constitutional authorities is Congress. With its first vote to give Bloody George the authority to invade a harmless country and its continuing feeding Bloody George the blood money he needs to continue the killing and be unwilling to impeach BushCo for crimes against humanity, Congress abdicated its role in declaring war and reining in tyranny. Who can do the heavy labor that the other “estates” are shirking?

Over the weekend, we the people, went to marches and rallies by the hundreds of thousands. From movie stars who are finally breaking their silence to military families, Gold Star families, Vets, and other activists that don’t have “skin in the game” we appeared in the hundreds of thousands. Some of us scraped together bus money and stayed 5-6 people per room to afford the trip. We carried creative signs and chanted or sang while we marched. Some of us have not been silent for years.

We want to put Congress, the media, and the executive branch on notice to show them that we will be the checks and balances that Mad King George and the rest so desperately need while we still have a nation to care about. We the people are the Fifth Estate and we are declaring that we will be peace inSURGEnts to save the people of Iraq and to bring our troops home and see BushCo imprisoned for their murder and corruption.

“I am persuaded that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army.” 

–Thomas Jefferson, 1787

Right now we are the only ones.

Let’s give Congress the courage it needs to finally do the right thing.

 

 

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was killed in Bush’s war of terror on 04/04/04. She is the co-founder and president of Gold Star Families for Peace and the Camp Casey Peace Institute. She is the author of three books, including Peace Mom, and Dear President Bush (City Lights Books/Open Media Series).

 

Leave a comment