This is not my normal diary. Usually I don't do "cut and paste" jobs. But this essay by Naomi Wolf over at Huffington Post the other day really hit home. Titled "American Tears", it chronicles the terrible retributions that are growing against critics of the current administration. Rhandi Rhodes may not have been a victim of a political hate crime (thank God), but the fact that it was somewhat believable as a rumor shows how deeply the current wave of fear spawned by governmental repression has become.
The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like.
But why are people scared? Wolf describes the situation:
In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said to me: "I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don't want to get on a list." In D.C., before that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head -- probably a Republican -- confides in a lowered voice that he is scared to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that exposes all his most personal information to the State -- but he is scared not to sign it: "If I don't, I lose my job, my house. It's like the German National ID card," he said quietly.
Paranoia? Maybe. How about this?
I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war -- in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers' money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq -- taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks -- and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country.
What does Naomi Wolf conclude from all this?
It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes?
Is it treason yet?
This is an open invitation to honorable patriots on the Right and in the center to join this movement to restore the rule of law and confront this horror: this is not conservatism, it is a series of crimes against the nation and against the very essence of America. Join us, we need you.
Wolf's link is to the American Freedom Campaign website, at which site we can read the American Freedom pledge:
We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people’s phones and emails without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power.
I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from assault by any President.
I have written numerous diaries about the way the United States government has researched and implemented torture. Many others here have written on the "black sites", the secret renditions, on the wiretapping issue, and much more.
It is clear to me, and becoming clear to others -- which is how Naomi Wolf's own essay struck me -- that, as she puts it:
It is clear that this is not democracy as usual -- or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress....
The time for weeping has to stop; the time for confronting must begin.