Freedom 2009

I must confess that I love talk radio.

I've not been able to listen to much talk radio over the past several years as my van has been the venue of the musical stylings of Elmo, Barney, Toddler Bop (if that wasn't the real name of the annoying "I'm-a-little-teapot" CD then it was something similar), and most recently, the soundtrack CD from VBS last year (which I actually really like).

I remember listening to the chatter on talk radio some years ago - perhaps during our Illinois years? - and hearing the hosts banter about their days as TV reporters covering breaking news in the community.

One host asked the other something like, Do you remember how all the crazies would turn out once they saw the News Van pulling up in the crowd?

Oh yeah, the second host replied. In fact, my camera man and I even had a name for it. We called the TV camera an asshole magnet.

There are days, my friends, when I click around online and wonder if that magnet has only grown exponentially out of control in the wild, wild web.

Case in point: the recent post (that you can no longer find at the site as it was pulled down) at the Huffington Post (I'm not linking the site since I don't want to contribute to their traffic; I'm sure you intrepid web-surfers can find it via search engine) about Sarah Palin stepping down from the office of the Governor of Alaska.

You can read the full text of the post here at Cincinnati.com.

The post was offensive, although the author claims in his apology that he was just trying to be satiric. I would venture that it was more of a lampoon, and a pretty crappy one at that considering that the author ended up attacking the developmentally disabled more than Sarah Palin herself.

The news van is permanently parked outside every gadget that connects us to the internet; so many choose to use the power of one-click publishing to scream, jump, holler, and generally make a spectacle of themselves in words and images and they are here to stay.

But I would challenge them, and you, and myself (for I am human and not immune to the thrill of minor fame in the form of seeing my post titles in my BlogHer ad unit headline circle) to put aside for at least today all the showmanship, the drama, the quest-for-traffic controversy, and honor what lies at the core of all we do here online:

Freedom.

You have the freedom to be heard in this new media of ours, to shout your voice from the proverbial rooftops, freedom that was bought and paid for by those that came before you, those that braved all and sacrificed all so that the generations to come would have a better life than they dared to dream for themselves.

The web is the new media of the people and the doors are open to anyone who dares to enter and speak.

And for that, despite all that is skewed and flawed in this wild webby world, I am grateful this Indpendence Day.

Let freedom ring.

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