Friday, July 22, 2016

And Still We're Scared

This is the last stand on earth. There’s no place to escape to—Gen, Michael Flynn 

The sense of safety that many of us once took for granted has been shattered—Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. 

 Both quotes from speakers at the Trump-GOP Convention where “Making America Safe Again” was an official theme.

                                                     West Tisbury, MA
      We maintain the world’s most powerful and expensive military arrayed in hundreds of bases throughout the world. We are currently using those bases to conduct seven overt and several covert wars from Africa to Asia. Our president has just ordered a trillion (yes, trillion) dollars worth of new model nuclear weapons to more reliably and efficiently destroy human existence should that become advisable.
    Since 9/11, Washington has used our taxes to create a top secret security bureaucracy “so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” This bureaucracy apparently has the capability to surveill just about every American and God only knows how many of the other 95 percent of the world’s people.
      At home, we have over a million civilian police who are increasingly militarized and equipped with heavy weapons more useful to make war on the citizenry than to ‘serve and protect’ it. For their part, ordinary Americans are armed with over 300 million guns, adding more all the time  Millions of these gun owners  are present and former military with proficiency with weapons. To enhance our security, we imprison 2.2 million people, a total greater by magnitudes than any other country, including China, a dictatorship with five times the U.S. population   
    You would think that all of the above would make Americans feel secure.  No other country in history has been so profusely armed and organized not only for defense  but also to take the offense against those who would  challenge not merely its security but its dominance over others. Yet despite all this power,  Americans live in fear. Fear of Mexican rapists, Muslim terrorists, aggressive Russians, arrogant Chinese, fanatic Iranians, and anti-Americans of countless kinds. And that’s not to mention our fear of our fellow citizens—the ones we protect ourselves against with assault rifles for the gents and dainty pink automatics for the ladies.
    There’s not a moment where we can say we feel safe and secure. And even if we increased our power by ten or twenty or a hundred fold we would still live in fear. Politicians in and out of office would still be warning us that ever greater military spending, ever more foreign wars, and ever more draconian impositions of law and order at home were vitally necessary if we wanted to be safe.  No matter how bloated the budgets of our warfare state,  politicians would still be accusing each other of skimping on it. But those politicians who talk tough are really lying fools or weak-willed pussies.
       In fact, there is one man in America, a real estate promoter and brand name marketer, who can alone quickly vanquish all of these enemies and allay our fears because he’s smarter and tougher than any other candidate. He gets his intelligence from "watching tv shows” and is his own best consultant on complexities domestic or global.
     “America First,” his main political slogan is derived from a pre-World War II movement favorably disposed towards Hitler. “Law and Order,” or “legge ed ordine” in Italian, another of his slogans is, like the realtor’s jutting chin pose, associated with Benito Mussolini.     
    Both Hitler and Mussolini were better read than the realtor, who apparently didn’t even peruse the books about himself that he paid others to write.  In any event, instead of making Germany first and establishing law and order in Italy, they brought death and ruination.  
    It’s likely the same fate will befall us. Not from enemies but from ourselves. We seem to have a penchant for scaring ourselves to death.