Friday, July 21, 2006


Masks are odd things. People wear them all the time, in one way or another and for various and sundry reasons. Masks serve, and have served many purposes throughout the history of man. They conceal the identity of a person, they protect the face, they are a symbol to instill fear, laughter, hope, spirituality and a variety of other emotions and they can empower and change their wearers.

It might be a cop using one to instill fear and protect their identity, while breaking in the doors of a family dwelling or a radio show host abusing prescription drugs and causing their own deafness while calling for stiffer penalties for drug abusers. It might be a participant in the Booger Dance wearing a carefully crafted mask as they continue the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Aniyunwiya an poke fun at tribal politics, or that of a thief stealing from the innocent. Most masks which we deal with these days are invisible to the eye and carefully crafted from secrecy, half truths and even outright lies, these are masks of deception more often than not. Perhaps they're a mask built from the anonymity of the online world or the clothes which one wears to create a mask of perception. They may even be the carefully crafted and manipulated masks of political leaders, who count upon the complacency of the constituency and the flightiness of the those who support or expose them. We are seemingly a society of masks.

Many of us have over time tossed aside our masks and exposed ourselves in many ways to scrutiny with few or no disguising covers while in the pursuit and promotion of freedom and liberty. Some have come roaring into the light, while others are more circumspect or maintain a modest presence. Regardless, the mask has been removed for the most part and our faces laid bare for all to see and this has been voluntary on our parts, in order to speak to people with as few barriers as possible. No bureaucrat or tyrant has forced us to remove any masks which we might have worn.

In the early days of this country, when blogs were letters and pamphlets printed in the dead of night and seditious words could result in death, imprisonment or the failure of your political platform, learned writers crafted "pen names" to avoid detection. Publius, Cato, Federal Farmer or just a nameless, invisible writer. Now, we do not face death for our oft times seditious and critical words. At least not yet, at any rate although many would posit that the time is coming when that may well once again be the case. If that is the case then so be it.

Masks have played a pivotal role in this country's formation. Two hundred and thirty three years ago 150 men put on masks and became empowered heroes for all time. Their masks hardly provided anonymity given who they were and where they lived, but the paints they donned empowered them to strike a blow against the tyranny of their day. Masks, it seems may be useful things in the hands of those with a cause or the necessity to fear retribution from tyranny.

Some would say that we have reached a period in this country when masks are not a necessity. that there is no need to fear retribution for the spoken or written word. There are some, I think, who would tend to disagree with this statement. One of my favourite political candidates has been successfully muzzled by "our" government and their unConstitutional legislation, through the implied threat of fines levied against him and others and the fear of what such speech stifling fines would do to him and his family, no doubt. Invisible people and their berobed and besuited masters, all wearing their own masks have succeeded in removing the right to speak and associate freely in a political manner and there is seemingly nothing they can or will do to once again take what is theirs.

I think the time is once again approaching when those who yearn for and seek freedom and liberty shall have to don their masks, as so many who have come before them have done, if they truly wish to be free. Masks are a symbol and a symbol can be a powerful thing. Perhaps we will find a suitable mask someday, one which inspires hope and confidence in friends and instills fear in our enemies. Perhaps it is time to once again don the masks of Publius and Cato...or Guy. In the coming age of surveillance we may well be best known by our masks and our actions.

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1 comment:

Sunni said...

Very thought-provoking; thank you for writing this.