Although the actual Cuban Missile Crisis began on the 15th, today in 1962 was the first day after President John F. Kennedy announced to the American public that Soviet missile bases were discovered in Cuba. The 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis is considered the pinnacle of the Cold War and the closest the United States and the Soviet Union ever got to war.
Today, what a president discloses to the people is a topic of much discussion. With the advent of social media, the president can send information to millions of people at all hours of the day. With a flood of constant information, including tweets about pop culture and international affairs, it’s hard to sift through the noise to find what is actually important. When faced with that every day, it’s easy to want the government to tell us less. However, what we don’t know is what is the most dangerous.
Though President Trump is rather forthcoming about his poll numbers on his Twitter, recent months have seen revelation after revelation, none of which show the whole picture. Most recently, the Trump administration has decided to withhold a whistleblower from the House Intelligence Committee, in violation of the law. According to the New York Times, information the whistleblower knows, “we don’t know.”
That same New York Times article, “The Trump administration cannot withhold a whistleblower complaint from Congress,” rounds out their coverage with mentions of the president’s now-infamous tax returns, which he still has yet to disclose.
The president’s loose relationship with the truth is sadly old news. As of Oct. 14, the Washington Post reports that he has made 13,435 false or misleading claims since taking office under three years ago.
Even when we are told information, we can no longer trust what we are told by our own government. This year has seen the Mueller report, which was accompanied by the conviction of Paul Manafort, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Trump aide Rick Gates, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and former advisor George Papadopoulos, as well as Roger Stone’s charge of lying to Congress. Something is happening behind the scenes, and we the people of the United States of America have no idea what it is.
Presidents keeping vital information from the people is not new. Lyndon B. Johnson distorted the facts about the Gulf of Tonkin incident to intensify the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon is another prominent example. The benefit of history is that you already know how it played out. I don’t know how the next few years are going to go. That uncertainty, that feeling that there’s something larger at play that we don’t have the privilege to know, scares me.
The president works for us, the people. No president has ever been or will ever be above the people. We are the supreme authority, and they answer to us. It’s time for the people to have the knowledge, since we are the real source of power.