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by OPOVV, ©2013

A professional courier, Pheidippides ran 150 miles in two days to notify Sparta that the Persians had invaded the city of Marathon.  He then made a second run from Marathon to Athens to deliver the message that the Greeks had defeated the Persians. Pheidippides collapsed and died after his feat but became the inspiration for the sport called “marathon”

(Jun. 14, 2013) — There was this Greek dude, Pheidippides, who had the duty to tell the king that the Persians were sent back where they came from. The story goes further that he ran the 26 miles nonstop and, after telling his King the news, died. Yep, the messenger died, but we don’t know how he died, the cause of death, because the death certificate has long turned to dust, or ashes; who knows?

Speculations abound. For instance, did Pheidippides break protocol by not stopping at the inn for a well-earned rest? Did he barge in on the King without waiting to be duly announced? Was he wounded and then died? Was the King so happy that he killed his messenger as his reward, or for something else? Or maybe the messenger taxed his heart so that it burst and that was that.

So what’s the point? The point is that the messenger isn’t the key element in the story. Pheidippides is just a bit player; heck, even the King is a bit player. The story is the feat that was accomplished to tell the facts, just the facts. The story is that the messenger put himself out on a limb to spread the news; that’s why it’s been remembered through the years.

Fast-forward 2,500 years to the present day, and our messengers are now called whistleblowers, but we don’t treat our messengers they way they used to be treated. Today we blame the messenger for the news, and then, rather than talk about what the message was, what the whistleblower told us, we attack the mouthpiece and disregard the message.

How could our fellow citizens give us the shaft? Don’t we all live under the umbrella of the First and Fourth Amendments? Is there no privacy, or has the reasonable expectation of privacy been forever shattered? And what makes the headlines? Is it “Welcome to 1984?” No, it’s “The messenger ran to Hong Kong.”

I’ve been to Hong Kong a couple of times. I had a week’s vacation there, stayed at the Hilton, and would go back as soon as a rich uncle dies. The food, the sights: it’s truly a cornucopia of visual and epicurian stimulus overload that is a never-ending midway show.

So Edward Snowden is to be swept under the rug, or guillotined, whatever, and will continue to make headlines. Meanwhile, our information that’s been collected on each of us won’t be destroyed, or if they say it was, it wasn’t.

No, the stories may have changed throughout the years, but the end result, the final outcome, hasn’t. The messenger is dead, just as our whistleblowers are racked over the coals and discredited nine ways to Sunday, and let’s all forget what the fuss was all about in the first place. Let’s have mass amnesia and not remember that Big Brother is STILL watching you. How does it make you feel? If you think that the government is watching out for you, then Edward Snowden’s efforts were wasted on you.


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  1. We do have both a Public Whistleblower Protection Act and a Military
    Whistleblowers Act. Neither protects divulgence of Classified information. That said, the divulgence of fraud, mismanagement, abuse or criminal activity on the part of Government IS covered. A gross infringement of one’s Constitutional rights which is being undertaken,under color of law, would be a protected disclosure. We also have Qui Tam lawsuits which individuals can file against the government for fraud. The “”jury is still out” on Mr. Snowden. The circumstances of his disclosures and the types of information that he disclosed must be taken into account with any mitigating and exculpatory evidence weighed against what he divulged and whether the benefit that he provided to “We the People” outweighs any damage that he has done. It is never wrong to hold our government accountable for it’s abuses of the people. The people, after all, are the ultimate deciders of how we want our government run.

    1. Hey Robert;
      You are right on target. Great comment.
      Indeed, the jury IS still out on Snowden.
      Five years ago I’d be bashing the messenger, too.
      But times have changed, and not for the better: for the much, MUCH worse
      Our Constitution has been rendered null and void, and one has to look no further than the kangaroo Court Martial of LTC Terry Lakin to prove the point.
      The Joint Chiefs of Staff shake the usurper de facto president Obama’s hand, FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE, before Obama’s State of the Union address every January for the last 5 years.
      We live in perilous times, indeed.
      Ben Franklin had it pegged when he wrote:
      “Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security”.
      Thanks for commenting,