Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Been pondering the last chapter of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, "The Coming Revolt of the Guards." That's what it will take, of course. So long as the police, prison guards and military and other middle-class functionaries, are willing to cooperate in protecting the very few wealthy from the rest of us through force, threatened force, medication, or paperwork stalling, the potential for a real change in cultural values and tangible life circumstances is very, very limited.

Reading about the Halliburton detention centers, http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/february2006/010206detentioncamps.htm
and the outsourcing of spying to corporations http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2005/01/12_400.html,
placing wiretapping, satellite surveillance, arrests, interrogations and torture outside the accountability mechanisms of the now-irrelevant Congress and courts, it made me wonder: when the only American jobs available are military or military support jobs, will we progressives let our children starve to death rather than capitulate? Probably not, but what will we do instead?

Hitler-Bush comparisons are so easy to make these days. The hope is that we Americans are different from those Germans. Their bureaucratic obeisance as they carried out the Holocaust was apparently founded in Hitler's popularity, his record of lifting the German economy out of recession, and his appeals to their human desire to think of themselves as superior beings. Bush, on the other hand, is deeply and increasingly unpopular, our economy continues to sputter out, and as a culture, we are still at least a little uncomfortable with the idea of a Clash of Civilizations - Christian v. Muslim.

Yet I'm a peace activist; I think often of Dietrich Bonhoeffer http://www.dbonhoeffer.org/
We of the left, middle, and conscientious right have been able to do precious little to free the Muslim men held without charge in Gitmo these many years. When "They" come for us, will there be anyone left, with any power, to do anything to help?

Let's hope that instead of following Bush into a Hitler-esque future of militarized borders and empire at gunpoint, we see the whole gang - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and all their inner circle friends - shuffling out of the White House in orange suits and leg shackles someday soon.


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