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For this patriotic pageant, we’re not at liberty…

By Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com

Those of us in charge of keeping secrets for the “most open and accessible convention in history” (code name: “Open Con”) are furious.

We toil in this undisclosed location, keeping the lid on you-know-what, and do we get the unspoken respect we secretly deserve? No!

Just last week, the city attorney reviewed six months of emails we’d carefully blacked out and said we’d gone too far.

Gone too far? How can you possibly go too far when your job is protecting the public from information about what’s happening in their midst? That doesn’t make any sense.

Like that email about the color scheme for the police command post – we carefully covered up the part about the hues under consideration. Now the city says that’s not sensitive security information.

Not sensitive security information? Just imagine what might happen if certain you-know-whos learn we’ve gone with Argyle Mauve rather than Faux Cucumber with the latex satin trim.

This would provide our enemies with key insight into our strategic matrix, the result of months of top-secret consultations. Consequences could be disastrous.

Or how about that email the police chief sent to an aide that said, “Let’s talk.” We don’t just redact this kind of dialogue willy-nilly.

There are perfectly good reasons for concealing such sensitive exchanges. Obviously, we can’t disclose those reasons at this time because of security restrictions you have no business knowing about. Trust us – we clearly know what we’re doing and we’ve got it covered. There is no need for concern.

Just examine our success to date: No one in town knows how much of uptown is going to fall into the zone of exclusion during the three-day event scheduled you-know-when. No one in town knows whether the bus station is going to be open to the public we’re striving so hard to protect.

No one in town knows what we’re buying with the $50 million in security money. No one in town even knows where the peddlers selling big buttons and funny hats will be located.

No one in town knows anything, which is just the way we like it. Open and accessible political conventions are a big deal these days. For democracy to work, we must keep it clandestine as possible.

We shall continue in our heroic work to keep the citizenry out of the loop. But there must be no more of this oversight business.

How much you have hurt our mission, no one can say.

Washburn: 704-358-5007; mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com.
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