On a night like no other when America’s open and democratic virtues were put on worldwide display, an ill-advised policy within the Department of Defense proclaimed to servicemembers and the news media alike: “No you can’t.” What a servicemember and a journalist couldn’t do, the policy drafters ordered, was engage in conversation on a military base as the returns from a momentous election rolled in.Can't have the soldiers be seen celebrating a very liberal change in direction for America on their own personal time, can we? That might embarrass and shame the elitist, Neoconservative warmongering class that were seriously smacked around at the ballot boxes.
Stars and Stripes’ plans for providing news of Tuesday’s election started out with a new and seemingly innocent twist, tied to the opportunities of the new media. Reporters were to go to the common areas of bases and observe the reaction of servicemembers as the voting was tallied and shown on TV and the Internet. They were then to file to Stripes’ Web site, via “twitter,” an electronic form for sending brief, staccato messages.
January 20th, 2009, can not come soon enough!