Election Day Musings

Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.

Coco Chanel

The occasion to quote Coco Chanel does not arise often. Still, her pithy wisdom illuminates the paralysis that has gripped the American electorate during this season’s political campaigns. Though we the people hold to the conviction that we are the ultimate deciders of our political and social fate, we are adrift in a sea of information overload, bombarded by misinformation, doomed to operate from a position of information skepticism.   Our instinctive desire for authenticity is thwarted.

It is no wonder that we have lost control of our most valuable resource. Information is implicit, an invisible and ubiquitous thread that’s woven throughout the fabric of our environment, a force that frames the politics, economics, and social forces that shape our lives. Though we cannot see information pulsating through the channels that bombard the world around us, we need to understand the sources and the impact of this unique human resource.

A primary responsibility of the government is to produce and make accessible the information that Americans need to make good decisions. It is, then, the primary responsibility of the people to hold the government accountable to act in the public interest as determined by the electorate and their representatives.

Bottom line: We the people depend on our elected representatives and on government agencies, federal, local and state, to harness the power of information and telecommunications technology to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is incumbent on us as citizens in a democracy to understand the sources, the politics, the economics, the flow and the character of information, this nation’s natural and renewable resource.

In these hard times our priority must be to demand transparency, to hone the skills of access, and to feed our instinctive desire for authenticity.




4 responses to “Election Day Musings

  1. Thanks Mary. I love this. Rami

    Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2014 12:37:40 +0000 To: ramisamuelson@hotmail.com

  2. This is articulate and provocAtive. I’m pill watching forbthrbDFL’s Election protection program.

    Gretchen at precinct on Augsburg campus. Sort of slow and steady so far. A few registering. Most already registered. We still need to talk!


  3. Mary, Please let me know if you receive this. My “skill” is limited. Lucy

  4. My friend Edie sent me here.

    There’s an awful lot of wisdom in what you’ve written. But I take exception with one thing: “A primary responsibility of the government is to produce and make accessible the information that Americans need to make good decisions.”

    I actually believe that is the primary responsibility of the press (that’s why our constitution gives them special protections). And from what I see, they are doing a lousy job of it.

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