"The Obama administration is not going to represent an abrupt departure from Bush-era [secretive government] policy," Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, told TPMmuckraker. "If we thought they were, we were mistaken."
He added that it's no longer realistic to think that Obama's administration will take a strong stand in favor of openness on national security issues. "We have to recalibrate our expectations."
Recalibrate our expectations? Only if we had unreasonable expectations to begin with. What we have to do is redouble our efforts. Reform does not come from the top - it bubbles up from below. FDR asked the people to make him do the right thing, and eventually he did it; in the same vein, we have to keep the pressure on Obama and make him be the president we hoped he could be.
I don't know what Aftergood's expectations were. My expectation, campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, was not that Obama would step in and fix everything. My hope was that with Obama in office, we had at least some chance to have our voices heard. But voices can't be heard if they're silent. We have to write Obama. We have to write our legislators. We must demand open government as policy and as law. Then we should write them again on health care reform, and then on corporate influence in government. We have to write them letters and call their offices and demand they do the right thing on every issue. Then we have to tell our friends what we've done and encourage them to speak up too.
I haven't been doing nearly enough along those lines, but I plan - no, I pledge - to start today.