The return of the Third Estate.

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     Louis XVI ruled pre-revolutionary France but the country had an interesting system that allowed the people to exercise some power. The Estates-General consisted of three separate groups. The First Estate was the Clergy, the second the Nobility, and the Third Estate was everyone else.Right before the French Revolution The Estates-General met for the first time since 1614. To say the least things got out of hand and the people had their way with the First and Second Estates to say nothing of what they did with the Monarchy.

     I am not predicting the same outcome but some recent events are as ground breaking as the Estates-General of 1789. First is the almost complete dismantling of the Fourth Estate, commonly known as the mainstream media (MSM.) When I grew up in the 1970s there were three sources of TV news and the variation between them was minute. If they did not want a story to get out then it was not released. The one or two local and various national papers had an equal lock on stories as well.

     The crack-up of the MSM began with the FCC’s repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. Soon after that The Rush Limbaugh Show was syndicated nationally in 1988. Six years later the Drudge Report got underway. Soon there were millions and millions of people receiving their news and some very unauthorized gossip from sources outside the MSM.

     Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold did their best to squelch political speech with the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It seemed like their little power grab was working until the advent of something called a web log. The current term is blog and their effect has already been seen in the 2004 Presidential Election with the uncovering of Rathergate by internet forums and blogs. Exposing the story as a hoax clearly had an impact on the 2004 election. The internet and e-mail has allowed all of this to take place but the blogging is the current nexus for all of this technology.

     Blogging has only grown since that time and now many sites are covering ever smaller races that the presidential election. In Southern Arizona the Arizona 8th site focuses on the local congressional race. It was widely reported that the Connecticut Democrat primary for U.S. Senate was widely influenced by bloggers.

     One of the most notable recent events that would have been frozen out back in the 1970s was the “joke” by John Kerry about staying in school less you end up in Iraq. The video made it to You Tube for everyone to see. The troop in Iraq make a sign showing their response and the photo travels the word in seconds. If the Republicans hold on to either or both houses of Congress they should send thank you cards to John Kerry, the troops serving in Iraq, the Drudge Report, and the advent of the internet and e-mail. The Third Estate has returned and they are not very fond of elitists like Kerry who denigrate men and women who risk everything to serve in this country’s military. The difference now is that the MSM can no longer protect cads like Kerry and regular citizens can quickly respond with a voice that reaches millions.

Friday 11-3-06, 11:00 pm


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