My own family left our country of origin because to be a member of our ethnic group, our religion, had become a death sentence. I remember my great-uncle showing me the scars of bullets. Riders galloped through his village shooting as many of my people as they saw, simply because we were the “wrong” race.
As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to Internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: Our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are “at war” in a “long war,” a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president — without U.S. citizens realizing it yet — the power over U.S. citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.
I see this in the lack of over sight of DSS – the discretion is so total.
I see this in Washington where accused are held without charges, in secret, and taken to black holes to be tortured in other countries.
It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as W.H. Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere — while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing. “Dogs go on with their doggy life ? How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster.”
Maybe the most radical act of all would be to demand civics in the schools, 100% televised coverage of all sessions and hearings on Beacon Hill, and to support reining in the Imperial Presidency in Washington.