Victims of Creeping Fascism
By Charles Sullivan
-- -- When a sitting president declares that the
constitution is just “A God damned piece of paper,” it reveals much
about his inner character; or lack thereof. It reveals dangerous
illusions of omnipotence, contempt for the law, and scorn for the
people. It was George Bush who uttered those tortured words to
Whitehouse aides last week. Easily misled by false idols intoxicated
with power and driven by insatiable greed, we are witnessing nothing
less astonishing than the demise of the American experiment. Dreams
of democracy, justice, peace and hope are receding into the dim
recesses of ever more distant memory. We see them morphing into an
Orwellian nightmare of monstrous proportions that promises to pursue
us to our graves. If we continue on this course of ethical decline,
in another decade we will not even be able to recall the forms and
texture of those dreams that once held so much promise.
The American people have allowed the theft of the past two
presidential elections with hardly so much as a whimper of protest.
Most are not even aware that they occurred. Moreover, we have
allowed indicted Congressman Tom Delay to redraw congressional
districts in a way that gives conservatives a substantial advantage
over democrats and totally precludes progressives from competing.
While the morality of such actions may not be in question—their
legality is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors.
As a result of decades of complacency created in part by the fog of
television, and the ongoing corporatization of the government, the
American people find themselves the victims of creeping fascism.
Like the proverbial frog placed in a pot of warm water upon a
lighted stove, we hardly notice the gradual loss of our freedoms. By
the time we awaken to reality—if we ever awaken—we will find
ourselves parboiled. By then it will be too late to extricate
One by one our basic freedoms are being stolen from us by those who
purport to represent our interests. These are freedoms for which
millions of our own fought and died. Were their sacrifices in vain?
It appears so. In the aftermath of the toppling of the World Trade
towers by clandestine operatives inside the government, the massive
Patriot Act was enacted into law. Incredibly, this immense document,
sold to the people as protecting the sanctity of American lives, was
not even read by the law makers who voted it into law. The Patriot
Act was nothing more than a piece of creeping fascism that quietly,
unobtrusively, stripped us of our hard won freedoms without so much
as a skirmish.
Emboldened by the ease with which the Patriot Act passed, Patriot
Act Two, an even more onerous version of the original, is being
debated in the bowels of Congress. If passed, it will further erode
many more of our civil liberties. Once lost, those liberties will
never be regained without bloodshed. That is why they must never be
given away. Nor should we allow anyone to snooker us into their
theft. They are the most precious essence of the American experiment
and we must handle them with the utmost care.
As the debate in Congress continues, it was revealed this week that
the Pentagon has been engaged in spying on American citizens who
participate in the anti-war movement. Whenever a state has the
military spying upon citizens who are peacefully engaged in lawful
protests against the systematic killing, imprisonment, and torture
of millions of fellow human beings, you are witnessing not only the
ugly reality of creeping fascism—you are bearing witness to the
emergence of a bonified police state. In this instance we are
witnessing the criminalization of dissent. The thought police are
moving among us. They are watching our every move. They are
monitoring all of our electronic communications. They are preparing
a place for us in the hinterland of America.
War is profitable for those who wage it. Trillions are to be made.
And those who wage war are never the ones who have to fight them.
The Pentagon and its priests of death and misery in the defense
industry cannot exist without enemies—even if they have to invent
them. Take away their phantoms of terror and they are left naked and
vulnerable as a Deer in the headlights.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, of course, has a long history
of abusing the civil liberties of American citizens. The F.B.I.
continues to collect dossiers on law abiding citizens, as it did
against the leaders of the civil rights marches, anti-war movement,
organized labor and, most recently, environmental groups operating
in the public interest. Both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. regularly
engage in smear campaigns against both individuals and citizens
groups working for social justice. This reveals an important fact
about who these agencies are really working for. Their sole purpose
is to protect the rich and the powerful from the rest of us. They
intend to have the whole enchilada for themselves.
In a time when our tax dollars go to huge public relations groups to
place bogus stories favorable to U.S. empire in foreign newspapers
and television, we will soon find ourselves with virtually no civil
rights. The corporate media in America is such a purveyor of
propaganda it is for all practical intents and purposes a State
owned media. As such it acts as a mouthpiece for the Pentagon and
for Corporate America. Long ago it abrogated its responsibility to
serve the interests of democracy and the working people.
Are the American people totally vulnerable and exposed to the
corruption of creeping fascism that, Amoeba-like, is devouring our
hopes and dreams for a better life, a better world? We are, unless
we refuse to drink the Kool-aide. That is the first step toward
emancipating ourselves from the all pervasive corporate dominance
that dulls our senses and dims our wits. Our fate is sealed if we do
not awaken from the stupor of apathy that envelops us and prevents
us from acting to save ourselves. We must use the tools we have. We
must organize in our own communities and on a global scale. We must
act out of a sense of urgency. The hour is late. The sun is setting.
Darkness gathers at our door steps. All we have is each other and
that just might be all we need. Otherwise, we might have occasion to
find out who all of those FEMA camps scattered throughout the
country are intended for.
Charles Sullivan is a furniture maker, photographer, and free lance
writer residing in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He
welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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