This is a good time to be a political junkie. Until recent years, it was often difficult to make one’s political opinions known. After all, only a handful of people owned printing presses or broadcast towers. Everybody else was reduced to raving on street corners.
But today, there are so many informational outlets no one person can possibly pay attention to all of them.
It’s not simply the three 24-hour cable news outlets that are constantly trolling for live content. There’s also an AM dial packed with talk radio stations. Political podcasts are sprouting like mushrooms after a rain storm. Sites such as Townhall.com carry dozens of new columns every day, and for those who want to make their opinions known immediately, there are an unlimited (but somehow still growing) number of blogs.
In short, free political speech is as prevalent today as it’s been in the entire history of our republic. Small wonder, then, that the real problem today isn’t finding an outlet for the free exchange of ideas. It’s attempts by a minority to prevent that free exchange.
Enter the political pressure group Code Pink.
The organization says it’s dedicated to getting the U.S. “out of Iraq NOW,” but it doesn’t seem to be having much luck. Last fall Democrats won both houses of Congress, but almost a year later our policy has gone in the opposite direction from the one that Code Pink advocates. It wants our troops out, but Congress agreed to President Bush’s request to surge more troops in.
This week, Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker came to Washington to answer questions from lawmakers about the war. The men clearly remain cautious, but they report we’re making progress. “Coalition and Iraqi forces have dealt significant blows to al Qaeda-Iraq. Though al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq remain dangerous, we have taken away a number of their sanctuaries and gained the initiative in many areas,” Petraeus told senators.
Now, under our political system, Code Pink is free to disagree with Petraeus. They’re even free, as fellow liberal pressure group Moveon.org did, to take out a newspaper ad in The New York Times attacking him. But they ought to at least hear him out.