Government small enough to let terrorists get away?
Getting out of bed this morning, Anne said, “I feel like everything that happened in Boston yesterday was a movie I watched.” It feels that way to me, too, especially given how the 24-hour cable news coverage puts the on-screen personalities in the position of having to fill every second with jabber, even when they have nothing to say. Any lull in the action is sure to be filled with endless speculation that starts with some version of, “Well, I don’t want to speculate here but…” followed by an in-depth foray into wild speculation based on little to no relevant facts. Journalism! Even Chris Hayes, who I admire greatly, seemed uncomfortable having to ask high school kids on the line if they ever smoked weed with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
A couple of things really struck me yesterday. The first was that, at a time when Republicans across the country are ranting and raving about making government smaller, yesterday was a clear example of why government needs to be big. I was amazed and impressed and, frankly, a bit skeeved out by how quickly and effectively law enforcement agencies across the board worked together and how much information they amassed in short order on Tsarnaev brothers. It goes to show you how much of our public life is preserved for posterity in digital form, most often without our knowledge, to be used against us if needed. And yet, without it, we’d still be wondering when these murderous kids would strike next. That sort of wondering and worrying is exactly what makes terrorism terrifying and the Godzilla stomp of our coordinated law enforcement in this case stopped it cold.
The other thing that struck me was the spontaneous outpouring of love and admiration and gratitude toward the Boston police and other members of law enforcement in the hours after Tsarnaev was captured. It did my heart good to see so much appreciation of members of a public employees union. Considering how much Republicans, especially in Michigan, have vilified union members, the celebrations in Boston last night were refreshing and a stark reminder that there’s no shame in being a member of a union. How shameful it is that our Michigan Republican lawmakers don’t value our public employees, especially the ones responsible for educating our children, as much as they do corporate profits.
[CC image credit: Dickelburs | Wikimedia Commons]