Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life in the Dying Embers of Empire

We're just going to have to turn loose of the idea that we live in a free country, here in the united States. The evidence is overwhelming that we not only live in a police state, but a stealthily oppressive police state as well.

Who has not been selected for "special treatment" at airport check-in security (or is it just me?)? Each time we acquiesce to "special treatment," we become innured to the reality of the police state, we facilitate the regime by voluntarily giving up our civil rights, we get used to being challenged by authority at every turn and we accept that authority as legitimate.

The recent arrest and thuggish leg-breaking of a minister standing in line to attend the Patreaus hearings underscores the radicalization of the police state. The police used to be our friends, the friendly cop on the beat leaning down to talk to the wee lad, helping the old lady across the steet, polishing an apple while swinging his seldom used billy club on the street corner.

No more. The constabulary is now the Darth Vader figure in black-padded storm trooper costume, spraying clouds of pepper spray indiscriminatly, firing rubber bullets at the young and weak, tieing the threatening hands of elderly ladies in pink behind their backs with anonymous plastic restraints.

And behind them, whispering into their lapels, punching buttons on their cell phones, the Men in Black, the "anonymous" organizers of the police state, the middle managers of official mayhem.

Outrage becomes normality, another sound byte on the TeeVee screen of life in the urban jungle, sacrifical citizens in the panoply of empire.

Ours is the finest democracy money can buy, the unctuous police state that simulates the comfortable illusion of choice, oozing the slimey lie of democracy under the door of popular perception. Still allowed to vote, as long as it doesn't count, we are, by and large, restricted from access to the information necesssary to make intelligent choices. Dumbed down through mandatory state indoctrination, distracted by a Universe of mindless entertainment, bewildered by sensory overload, the citizenry, if that's what it is, of the dying empire becomes mere hanging chads to be manipulated as needed by the management elite.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." Dylan Thomas