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A Paper America in the Gasoline Breeze

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Perhaps there is hope for this country's government in November. Perhaps not.

Let's see what happens, right? November as decider of Democracy's validity. That's my simple standard, cut and dry. I am basing my last hopes in Democracy (even though that hope may be ill-founded notwithstanding) on the 2006 elections. While I could have lost all hope whatsoever in the electoral process in 2004, this time the very ideas of America and Democracy hang in the balance. For even though the sanctity of our elections have been violated since the days of Tammany Hall, never before has our entire Constitution been considered so meaningless; never before have the Geneva Conventions been deemed archaic and irrelevant; never before have the lessons of the Nuremberg Trials been treated as a fable to be considered fiction.

Here's my thinking on the upcoming November elections. We all know what should happen. Just like we all knew what should have happened in the election of 2004. I won't argue Blackwell, Exit Polls, or stats given in Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s recent article. But when I heard the bad news, didn't feel like bad news that could have reasonably been expected. It felt wrong. You see, I do not discount my intuition. I live my life in such a way that I nourish such aspects of my awareness; so that they do not fade under the weight of disbelief, denial, and over-intellectualization. I make efforts to nurture my sensitivity. It is important to me. And when I woke up to the election results in 2004, it felt as if something had been forced. A wrong turn.

Yes, I am telling you I sensed the theft. I can't explain how. Some truths do not live in the language of verifiable, repeatable experiments, or statistical summaries. I know that with Stephen Colbert's recent ironic and humorous reinforcement of the Socratic over the intuitive, this sounds scarily like something he might mock. But I am not talking about running a country or a senseless war based on my gut. I am talking about sensing when wrong has been done. I equate this to the same type of perceptual sensitivity that informs me when someone is lying to me, or looking at me from across the room. I give my understanding of events in my language, and while some writers you read online are lawyers or "inside-the-Beltway" types, I am but a storyteller and a dabbler of pigment. This is the pallete from which I now draw.

To me, it feels as if people are fed up with the Republican Mafia, and will vote the Democratic ticket overwhelmingly. It feels like a sea change is upon us. A lot of signs point to it, as well. Polls and other such sometimes-reliable means of measuring public sentiment and intent. Personally, I can't imagine a time (nor have I lived through one) when a nation might be more inspired to remove from power those who are making the current decisions of State. I do feel and think a massive Democratic win is what should, and will, happen in November.

But will it? The Bush cabal understand what this would mean. So, will it be so easy to take the power away from them? After all this amazing trickery and violence and theft, can we just sweep them away with such means? Already I'm reading inspiring OpEds that, while wonderfully written and insightful, talk to us about how to fix our form of Democracy once we get Bush out of office. I think that is the perfect direction to move in, should we do so. Because there is a lot about our nation and its affairs that ought to be addressed, aside from this current blight on the face of all blights. But I don't yet dare to be quite so optimistic.

I have to look at the group in power—Dubya, Rummy, Cheney, Rove, Rice, and Torture Boy—and wonder. Do people like this (especially Rumsfeld and Cheney)—people who wait 30 years to get "revenge"; to enact the government they feel truly represents their America; people who steal elections; people who viciously smear and destroy career, cover, and political standing of decent people for their own benefit; politicians who believe in torture, spying, prison camps, and the power of the Executive to suspend all American law—do these kinds of humans just let themselves get swept into a painful and humiliating world of failure by means of examination, accountability, investigation, impeachment and indictment, because of a congressional election? Do people not afraid to rig or wrest free the Presidential election from the process of Democracy suddenly let themselves be brought to ground in smaller elections that everyone can see coming a mile away?

What is your experience with human nature? What would make sense in the context of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Gonzales paradigm, come November? What would fit into character, were you writing these people into a book? Would your readers believe you if you suddenly made this group of characters respect law, election, and due process at this point in the story? Just when everything they were working for was in question, and their legacies, fortunes, and careers on the line?

Of course I sincerely hope I'm wrong, because it's an ugly direction, and for all I know it's only fear in the mind of a man paid to imagine such things (not that my pay has anything to do with my muse!) Let's assume as much. But though I hope—like the rest of the sane people in this country—that reason will prevail over fear and violence and duplicity and greed and powerlust this November, I don't see such an event fitting into the agenda already advanced and advertised by the Bush junta.

In many areas of constitutional law, they have crossed a Line, and then left it alone. Why? They are pushing boundaries over, one by one. They are proving that nobody (aside from them) has any true guts or vision; that nobody will resist their bold New Way. That of all our mouthing pledges and standing for anthems, we are paper Americans. No blood or fire left in these vessels. No plowshares in our hands, only remote controls and ergonomic mouses. Whether it be spying, torture, raiding congressional offices, "preventative war,' or jailing dissenters before they dissent—all the actions of this administration point in one direction. Total information awareness, total executive power, total martial law. And they have done plenty of dipping their cloven hooves into the American morning to test the wind currents. I say these beasts are ready to unfurl their wings in earnest.

So here's my Wacky Theory: Martial Law is already in effect in the USA. We just don't know it. And we don't know it because the media is blowing pink-tinted smoke in our face, and the Administration sees it as most helpful to them to desensitize us to the heinous and large fact.

Like a stealthy sniper slowly unsheathing his weapon, the Bush crew is only showing us the New America one piece at a time, and only when forced to. Whoops—a political hit job here; whoops—they're not protecting us from PSYOPS, but instead using us via blowback; whoops—they are turning our mails and phone calls into their own personal wishing well; whoops—they are keeping secret prisons, whoops they believe in torture, whoops don't believe in First Amendment whoops protest is terrorism whoops they are planting Pravda in the press. What have they shown us voluntarily? What does this say about what we have not yet seen? And do we honestly believe because they have had nine pieces of their new reality exposed, that there are only nine pieces to see?

In the minds of these people, Martial Law already exists. This assumption is the only thing that can explain the new behaviors and seemingly illegal actions that now define our government. Of course they will let the symbol of Congress make lots of frustrated flailings, trot out Arlen Specter once in a while to thrash in the pissy waters of the kiddie pool. But to Bush (et. al.) this is akin to the warden of a maximum-security prison allowing all the inmates to have free tobacco. They know the public needs steam vents or the whole thing might blow. They are habituating us, piece by piece, because to enact total dictatorial control all at once might just inspire the kind of revolt that still lives in the hearts of French youth, but has all but died in the American breast, relegated long ago to lionized, archaic, fantastical tales in textbooks glorifying the American Revolution and the strange breed of American that lived in those days. The one without twenty extra pounds, two TV sets, and a garage full of rationalization.

I am no legal expert. But I think Martial Law is already here, that's what I think. And I think before November there will be a massive event of some kind that will serve as Bush's true Reichstag fire. I think then the pretense will fall in most areas, and the elections will either be postponed, prempted, or declared a hazard to national security. Or perhaps there will be some unforeseen arm of the war that lashes around and catches onto the falling American flag, tearing it into a brand new shape for a New American Century.

I base this prediction/theory/fear on what moderate amount I have learned of Human Nature in my 37 years here, on the inherent preferred shapes of certain narratives that occur and reoccur in life, and on my intuition. So I cannot offer you any proof or any plan of action. I am but a dreamer, musing. Perhaps all my thoughts and fears on this are but fluff in the wind of imagination. Yet, I feel it is somehow my duty to share these thoughts. If anything, I write this here simply to offer the dialogue, as well as a simple admonition and reminder to all of us to keep our eyes on all the pieces, view every piece of information that is fed us by the propaganda machine in this light, and be prepared to act, come November.

In addition to voting, of course.
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Joaquín Ramón Herrera Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Nezua is an author and illustrator by trade, a rebel at heart, and a fugitive from the iron claw of ennui. You can find more of his writing at , his videos at , (more...)
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