December 31, 2010
“We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.”
— Chris Hedges, A Brave New Dystopia
As we enter 2011, I would like to just sigh relief and viciously kick 2010 to the curb — with hopes of a better 2011. But I don’t think that will work any more. It didn’t work in 2008 and 2009, precursors to 2010 when I did just that, kicked the old year gone and wished for better in the new year. It is becoming steadily clearer things are not going to get better. They are only going to get worse. Unless we do something.
One thing to do is leave. Get the hell out. I talk about this. I do not think my friends believe me. I talk about Canada, France, maybe New Zealand. “Oh that is just Max. She is so dramatic.” That is also what people said when I talked about leaving the logging town I attended high school in. [And I left.] When I talked about going to college for a degree in the humanities. [I did.] And when I talked about making it in Hollywood. [I did that too.] It is interesting my whole life I have talked about doing things and then done them while everyone surrounding me shook heads, smiled like the indulgent parents I never had, and said, “Oh that is just Max. She is so dramatic.”
The other thing to do is stand and fight. Luckily for me, I still live in a society that has enough vestiges of freedom of expression clinging I can say that on a blog and not immediately hear a knock at the door. I do not know how much longer that is going to last. I am not some huge blogger that gets millions of visits a day so I am a little low on the priority list for dark visits and unwarranted incarceration. Julian Assange, on the other hand, got a bit too much web traffic. Look how that is turning out for him.
The press does not talk a lot about the people standing and fighting. The real people standing and fighting, not the circus people standing and performing. Over a hundred war veterans chained themselves to the White House fence and were arrested the other day for protesting the war[s]. I guess they didn’t get a permit to protest — one of the stupidest concepts on Planet Earth: Ask for permission to protest? Seriously?
130 + people went to jail the other day for standing and fighting. And you didn’t see much about that on the news. Guess who owns the news?
The other thing not many people on the news are mentioning is, it takes money to protest. And free time. Back in the 60’s when all those college kids were marching on Washington to protest the war? Well those college kids could do that because back home there was food on the table, a roof over the family’s head, and tuition in the bank. These days? It is harder to protest these days because back home, the family home is being locked up by a bank and tuition isn’t in a bank and mom and dad are out of work and food might be a little late tonight on the table. It is hard to protest when you are trying to find a job or working three part time jobs to cling to the illusion of the “American Dream.” Which is just that, a “dream” that just does not exist in reality any more. And hasn’t for some time. Where historically U.S. protest in the past has mostly been an act of privilege, if it is to take on power and duration in the foreseeable future, it will be an act of desperation — because American privilege is a thing of the past.
I’d love to stand in front of the White House and demand better treatment for myself and my citizens. But I can’t afford a week off work. And people out of work? They can’t afford the plane ticket and hotel. And people who are in the streets, sick and hungry? Well if they rise up, despite exhaustion and hunger, despite pain and sickness, to really protest? That won’t be pretty. That is how Rome and Russia fell.
It is also getting harder and harder to leave this country. I do not know if anyone else has noticed, but other countries don’t want Americans. Other countries have state supported medicine and are tired of footing the bill for Americans when Americans come calling and then need medical care paid for by their host’s tax dollars. It has become a big issue for other countries. And travel insurance is expected to jump 10-40% in 2011. So, in the same way the U.S. has been building walls to block out immigrants allegedly taking advantage of our nation’s resources and kindness? [Both of which are hard to find these days.] Other countries, one by one, are steadily putting up bigger and bigger barriers to expat Americans who might want to flee the Prison State the US of A has become. And it is just going to get worse as time goes by. Now we are locking up decorated war veterans just for protesting a war.
The window to flee is closing. The means to fight are diminishing. And the prison populations are growing.
Happy New Year.