At What Point?

Now that Congress has repealed the Fifth Amendment, can you please join me in recognizing that this country is on a rocket-sled to totalitarianism?

Some senators think that indefinite detention without due process of Americans arrested in America was allowed before the passage of the NDAA (and that’s just their interpretation of the law that they allow us to know about).

Do you trust the government with such power? You shouldn’t.

If you trust Obama not to abuse the discretion to detain Americans at home (“part of the battlefield“) until the end of the Endless Global War on Terror, you probably don’t trust Perry or Gingrich or Romney. (If you trust all of them, your amygdala is damaged; if you trust none of them, you’re perfectly healthy.)

Tyranny doesn’t always arrive on metal treads. Sometimes it just grows quietly in place, unnoticed until its tendrils. The Germans thought they were free.

You might think, it could never happen here. Why? Once the legislative branch has given the executive branch the power, what’s to stop the executive from using it?

We like to pretend that we’re better than that, that our form of government makes us free, but our elected representatives have, by and large, done fuck all to preserve the very freedoms that made America.

We like to pretend that our freedom to speak our minds makes us free, but that freedom is under attack by the federal government.

We like to pretend that we, as Americans, are somehow immune to tyranny—that we’ll rise up, Red Dawn style, to defeat those who would take away our freedom. Horseshit. We’re corn-fed consumers, eager to hand over our basic rights to those who promise to make us safe—whatever it takes—as long as we are kept heavily fed and well-supplied with toys and can take that vacation to Disneyland.

If you agree with my assessment—that the prognosis for America’s freedom is bleaker than it has ever been and is, thanks to the war with Eurasia, getting bleaker every day—what are you doing about it now?

And if you won’t concede now that we have left freedom behind, then when will you?

Do you propose to wait until hearing the 3 a.m. boots on your own front steps, or only until your friends and neighbors start disappearing in the middle of the night?

And what do you think you are you going to do about it then?

3 responses to “At What Point?”

  1. I think the best thing all of us can do is join and empower the Occupy protests. It’s too early to see what direction these movements will take over the long term, but they seem to be at least something to be hopeful about in a time in which the candidate that campaigned on hope and change has instead placed a bipartisan stamp on the excesses of the Bush Administration and earned the cheers of Cheney for continuing, and in some cases going beyond, the radical tactics of their War on Terror, which has become an attack on the Constitution.

    My fear, though, is that most people believe It Can’t Happen Here even though the title of this book was meant facetiously, and will thus continue to believe this and sit back and watch as “first they came for the Communists but I didn’t speak up for I was not a Communist” plays out with various groups.

    What’s truly scary is that in a time when we are told that Al Queda, the supposed source of these “temporary” measures put in place over 10 years ago, has been defeated on various fronts, we seem to have grown addicted to empowering our government to protect us and thus both parties, despite AQ’s defeat, are in favor of expanding the AUMF and granting the Unitary Chief Executive (a theory both parties now seem to endorse) even more power to label us as “terrorists” and imprison us indefinitely, or even assassinate us, without having to show a shred of evidence of this in Court.

    What’s even scarier, however, is that so few people seem to care about the Constitution itself anymore and seem content with trading their hardfought freedoms for a little temporary security. While Ben Franklin’s statement that “Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither” used to sound like a warning to me, describing that the country was turning down a radical path, it now seems more like a newspaper headline describing the apathy toward liberty that seems so routine and bipartisan today.

    But maybe the Occupy protests are an indication that people have been pushed too far. We’ll see, but it’s at least something to keep an eye on in an era in which police/governmental power has rapidly expanded without much thought about how it could be used against us once it dawned on us that their freedoms,which we so quickly sacrificed, belong to us too, or at least used to.

  2. Most people here in the US believe the “Arab Spring” were uprisings against tyranny, but according to several foreign news sources they were in fact uprisings by the poor against the rich and well-connected. As we’ve watched the Occupy Wall Street movement spread into almost every city in this country, so it’s not a far-fetched idea that they could one day soon lead to an “American Spring”, which is precisely why I believe politicians passed this legislation.

    The status quo realizes that we’re a long, long way from economic stability and are preparing for major civil unrest in the coming decade, and the leaders of the movements will simply disappear as they do in other countries where the 5th amendment doesn’t exist. I think the government understands that the real threat are us citizens, and not foreign terrorists.

  3. Mark, thank you. You are right, and I truly hope each of your readers will also see and thoughtfully consider the linked items embedded within your post.

    As you suggest the USA is indeed on a “rocket-sled” and we find ourselves — if we are awake, conscious and honest — well down the seductive slope toward full-blown totalitarianism. The trend started long before 2001, but has especially accelerated since we first blithely accepted and embraced the use of language and associated ideation surrounding the concepts of “homeland” and ‘security” while “dutifully” falling prey to the many clever lies and manipulations that followed and will continue to emerge from the practice of tying these together in official propaganda, legislation, and executive action.

    And we know how well this worked for others, elsewhere, not long ago. The immediate legislation (and failure of the Udall amendment) which appears to have prompted your writing today eerily reminds me of the somewhat similar 1933 “Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals” and the unspeakable horrors that rapidly followed.

    Your readers may wish to check a timeline depicting some events from 1933, here:

    As an advocate for people with brain injuries and various physical, sensory and mental disabilities over the last quarter century, I am also chilled by our governments’ gross failure to properly anticipate or address the needs of so many of our wounded military members and veterans, and their families — too many of whom have already paid a terrible price to (supposedly) protect our cherished freedoms — and too, from reading the sometimes hateful and always hurtful words and attitudes of many politicians and self-proud American “citizens” who are so willingly and genuinely anxious to cut/slash/eliminate programs which barely suffice now to meet basic survival needs of so many of our fellow citizens.

    This callousness scares me, much more than any supposed “terrorist” threat.

    Remember who goes first?


    Yes, Mark, I too can hear the boots pounding ever louder. I try to remain optimistic and take some measure of hope from the Occupy Movement — maybe we’re not too late? But I also remember Kent State happening two weeks before my high school graduation, and that nobody will ever be punished for those shameful murders of unarmed students.

    One of my late Uncles was among US Army soldiers who liberated one of the most notorious of the “camps” in Germany. He never talked much about what he did, or saw. But I sincerely doubt that he, or many of the thousands of men and women who have died then and since to protect our Constitution would be proud of what happened in Washington this week.

    Best regards ~ RWS

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