"Dissent is what
rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed
doors." ~~ Lewis H.
The year 2011 will bring
Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home
foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US
law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust
from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media
2011 is shaping up as the
terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into
a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic
crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to
power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over
Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America's rightful
hegemony over the world.
If not already obvious,
2010 has made clear that the US government does not care a whit for the opinions
of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with
Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its
unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press
reported on December 16 that "Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can't
let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan." Gates stated bluntly
what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a
democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in
civics books, it will soon be edited out.
In Gag Rule, a
masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy,
Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to
survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be
found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John
Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, "scare people
with phantoms of lost liberty," "aid terrorists," "diminish our resolve," and
"give ammunition to America's enemies."
As the Department of
Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus, it is defending the
ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First
Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the
necessary scaffolding for the government's pretense that it is doing God's will
while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.
Neither is candor a trait
in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions
as propaganda ministry for the hegemonic American empire, and the "liberal"
New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York
Times that gave credence to the Bush regime's lies about Iraqi weapons of
mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush's
re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on
Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the "liberal
media" as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars
and coverups of the Bush regimes' crimes to the New York
With truth the declared
enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside,
the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided
the media with the video made by US troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter
of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six
months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17,
2006, "It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an
order that is either illegal or immoral" and to make such orders known. If
Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for
meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that
the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one
who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.
The lawlessness of the US
government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full
gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government
operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same
to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a
military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the
democratic government in Venezuela.
As 2011 dawns, public
discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.The
situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from
the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for
revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the US
government knows no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian
Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops
unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to
establish the National Security State as the highest value, and truth as its
America's future is the
world of Winston Smith.
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