For those of us who have managed to survive 2014 with our lives intact and our freedoms hanging by a thread, it has been a year of crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.
We've been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.
As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we've had our freedoms turned inside out, our democratic structure flipped upside down, and our house of cards left in a shambles.
We've had our children burned by flashbang grenades, our dogs shot, and our old folks hospitalized after "accidental" encounters with marauding SWAT teams. We've been told that as citizens we have no rights within 100 miles of our own border, now considered "Constitution-free zones." We've had our faces filed in government databases, our biometrics crosschecked against criminal databanks, and our consumerist tendencies catalogued for future marketing overtures.
We've been given the runaround on government wrongdoing, starting with President Obama's claim that the National Security Agency has never abused its power to spy on Americans' phone calls and emails. All the while, the NSA has been racing to build a supercomputer that could break through "every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world."
We've seen the police transformed from community peacekeepers to point guards for the militarized corporate state. We've been deemed suspicious for engaging in such dubious activities as talking too long on a cell phone and stretching too long before jogging.
We've been arrested for all manner of "crimes" that never used to be considered criminal, let alone uncommon or unlawful, behavior: letting our kids walk to the playground alone, giving loose change to a homeless man, feeding the hungry, and living off the grid.
We've been sodomized, victimized, jeopardized, demoralized, traumatized, stigmatized, vandalized, demonized, polarized and terrorized, often without having done anything to justify such treatment.
We've been railroaded into believing that it matters whether we vote Republican or Democratic, when truth be told, as the corporate state knows all too well, the only color that matters in politics is green.
We've gone from having privacy in our inner sanctums to having nowhere to hide. Even our cities have become wall-to-wall electronic concentration camps, with police now able to record hi-def video of everything that takes place within city limits.
We've had our schools locked down, our students handcuffed and arrested, our children's biometrics stored, their school IDs chipped, their movements tracked, and their data bought, sold and bartered for profit by government contractors.
We've been rendered enemy combatants in our own country. We've had the very military weapons we funded with our hard-earned tax dollars used against us.
We've been silenced, censored and forced to conform. We've been shot by police for reaching for a license during a traffic stop, reaching for a baby during a drug bust, carrying a toy sword down a public street, and wearing headphones that hamper our ability to hear.
We've been tasered for talking back to police, tackled for taking pictures of police abuses, and threatened with jail time for invoking our rights.
We've had our possessions seized and stolen by law-enforcement agencies looking to cash in on asset-forfeiture schemes, our jails privatized and used as a source of cheap labor for megacorporations, and our buying habits turned into suspicious behavior by a government readily inclined to view its citizens as terrorists.
We've been told that national security is more important than civil liberties, that the best way not to get raped by police is to "follow the law," that what a police officer says in court will be given preference over what video footage shows, that an upright posture and acne are sufficient reasons for a cop to suspect you of wrongdoing, that police can stop and search a driver based solely on an anonymous tip, and that police officers have every right to shoot first and ask questions later if they feel threatened.