Let’s teach ‘em a lesson

Carly Besser Opinion Editor

In the midst of selecting a new president and reviewing our failure of last year’s budget, I’ve had to hear the words “transparency” and “honesty” used more than a million times.

It’s almost subliminal. However, as often as we hear them used in reference to our relationship with Murray State, they really are important. Throughout the year, we have been informed of budget hearings and updates on the presidential search.

It’s such a step in the right direction that one governing body could learn a few lessons from Murray State – our federal government.

When revealing facts about the practices of the National Security Association were leaked to the public in 2013, we discovered how blindfolded we really were by federal agencies.

We couldn’t believe that mass surveillance of our personal and digital property was necessary, or even considered constitutional. Even those of us who aren’t criminals are kept accounted for. Mass surveillance does not discriminate.

We, as American citizens, are taken out of the decision-making process of national policy. As a democracy, it should be our right, not our privilege, to know what we are subjected to and discuss whether or not it is acceptable.

What reasons would there be for not being part of this conversation? What is considered our property? Should agencies require subpoenas to seize our emails, phone calls and online conversations?

These are all important questions that were raised in the midst of the security leaks.

While I’m proud that the transparency of Murray State makes it function more as a democracy, I’m disappointed that our federal government can’t follow suit.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed the practices of the NSA, is considered a traitor and faces two counts of espionage if he returns to the U.S. and stands trial. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

Snowden was living a privileged life in Hawaii. He was considered a wealthy person, with a large estate before he decided to reveal the practices of the NSA.

To give it all away in exchange for his integrity, he must have believed that it was worth letting us know. He was absolutely right.

His actions sparked a national conversation about where we should draw the line. American citizens, for the most part, agreed that the federal government took advantage of its power.

When President Tim Miller pointed out the shortcomings of former President Randy Dunn’s budgeting skills, we saw it as honest and we drew our own conclusions based on the facts. Was that wrong of him to present where he went wrong? Not to me.

The same concept should apply for people with the integrity to reveal the unethical practices of our national government.

I’m a proud student as well as a proud American. I’ve witnessed firsthand the changes in communication Murray State has applied to make us feel more included.

Can the same not apply to a government that is quick to define America as a “democracy”? I suppose not.

 

Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor