Imagine for the moment that you are living in Small Town, USA. Your life is pretty normal and while there are things about your life that you wouldn’t want people to know, you aren’t a pervert or a criminal. You’re just a average person when it comes to your private life and your online activities.
Maybe you have a friend, his name is… oh let’s just call him John. John Q. Public. He lives in your town and runs his own contracting business. Heck, maybe you’ve even hired him once or twice. Like you he has a bank account and a line of credit for his business. He also likes to travel, having gone to Europe last year. It’s something you’d like to do, but you’re just too busy.
One afternoon, there is a knock at your door. It’s the local Police and they have a search warrant.
A search warrant for your computer. Signed by a local Judge, they want your search engine history. All of it. They have no reason to believe that you did what they are investigating, but they have convinced the Judge that if they can just look at everybody’s computer and search engine history, they can find out who did do whatever it is that they are investigating.
Now again, you’ve done nothing wrong. Well… maybe you’re a little weird and all, but what you search for is your business after all and not my place to judge. But you’ve committed no crime and there is no reason whatsoever to suspect that might have. But here at your door stands a police officer with a warrant for your search engine history.
By the by, as you’re standing there, you notice that across the street, another Officer with another warrant is knocking on that sweet old lady’s door. And a couple of doors down the Pastors house has yet another Cop with a warrant. In fact, you notice that every house has a police officer with a warrant knocking on the door.
Never happen, Dave, you might be saying. First off the Cops got better things to do and nobody would be that silly and no Judge would ever approve such a warrant in the first place.
That’s what you would tell me, right? Right?????
(THE ORIGINAL STORY with the warrant)
In 44bce, following the death of Julius Cæsar, Mark Anthony wasn’t really impressing people in Rome with his leadership and management. Despite his inspiring speech at Cæsars funeral pyre, he was basically making a pigs breakfast of things.
Opposing him was Cicero. Here was a Constitutionalist, a leader and a man of words. And it was to words which Cicero turned in his very public condemnation and criticism of Anthony. He delivered a series of fourteen speeches, known as the Phillipics, in which he rips Anthony for everything from his management to his dalliances with women (even one beneath his station) and even implies that Anthony might be, just possibly, at least once or maybe twice, homosexual. Read the rest of this entry
When we hear the term “muck raking,” we almost automatically go in our heads to politicos and specifically those who “report” on politicians and their antics. There’s a good reason why we associate the phrase that way. And much of it goes back to the 1st decade of the 20th Century, when calls in earnest were coming from the media to chance how Senators would be elected.
In the early 1900’s, President Theodore Roosevelt began to label those in the press who attacked him or the government as “muck rakers,” a term he has borrowed from a book written in 1678 and well known to Christians even today, Pilgrim’s Progress.
But it was over the US Senate that the muck-rakers, as they even began to call themselves, really began to strike a blow against what they perceived as government corruption and the failure of the US Senate. When William Randolph Hearst began to promote the attacks against the Senators such as Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, it became increasingly clear that facts were no longer relevant to the discussion. Whether there was or was not any truth in the accusations or the stories of gridlock and failure by the States no longer matters. When one Senator was exposed as a corrupt and evil man, it reflected upon the entire body.
When what would become the 17th Amendment was first introduced, it faced an uphill battle. As time went by, and as more and more of the muck-rakers “uncovered” scandals and perceived injustices, it gained traction. In 1912 it would be adopted by Congress and in 1913 it would be ratified by the requisite number of States.
And in that lies the story of how the press can change the vision of the Framers and the US Constitution…