Naomi Wolf, in her fine 2007 book The End of America, hit the nail on the head. She mentions, in her preface, that Nazi propagandists were referring to Germany as ‘The Heimat ‘or ‘Homeland ‘. Is it a coincidence that the Bush crew used this phrase after 9/11? Hitler’s gang, after the suspicious Reichstag fire, got the German Parliament to pass the Enabling Laws. These laws virtually gave unlimited power to the government, stripping away civil liberties. They disallowed the right to dissent, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press…while legitimizing the arrest of political opponents to the regime. Those deemed enemies of the state were held in custody indefinitely without the right of habeas corpus. Without needing court orders, the government would tap phones and open mail. We Americans, after the suspicious 9/11 attacks, had our own Enabling Laws, called the Patriot Act, that allowed for the same iron fist. Yet, nearly ten years later, where is the mindset of our fellow citizens…. The silent majority? Silent indeed, except for those who support this kind of government. After all, America has been in a period, lasting generations, that Gore Vidal so aptly named Perpetual War. This current aspect of it has been labeled the War on Terror. Perhaps we should tell that to the civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya who are terrorized, mutilated, and killed by our missiles, bombs and machine guns. And we call ourselves civilized.
Visit any church parking lot in my town, during Sunday services, and count the flags, yellow ribbons and bumper stickers that in reality support the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Would Jesus condone what our country is doing? Most important, would HE have supported the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent murders of civilians in the name of liberation? What about the torture of detainees to fight terrorism? It confounds me how such apparently decent and God loving folks could turn a blind eye to what is being done in their name. Sad. Yet, Lord forbid, if one of their family was being held without trial, and was systematically tortured…… What uproar! The whole congregation would be out there, in full force, with the pastor or priest leading the march for justice.
Then we come to the circus aspect of 21st Century Americana. It seems that every few weeks, my town of 60,000 sponsors events at the City Center: Kid’s Days, Family Days, Art Fairs, Motorcycle shows, Music Festivals. The area is packed with vendors and carnival rides….. Cotton candy, hot dogs, ice cream….. Ferris wheels……. Games….. Fun….. Fun…. Fun…!
Countless folks swarm from the parking lots, like cripples to Lourdes, with their strollers and doggies on leashes. Tens of thousands come out….. While our soldiers are sucking up the 110 degree desert heat, carrying a ton of equipment on their person….. Looking like Ed Norton as the Man from Space in that Honeymooners episode. These kids, our troops ( most of them are under 25 ), highly skittish and on edge due to the IEDs and snipers from the Iraqi and Afghan towns they are illegally occupying – do become trigger happy and reckless. The WikiLeaks video (with audio) of the 2007 US Apache helicopter massacre of innocent Iraqi civilians proves that point. Most likely, at the Port Orange carnival, that young father pushing his little babe in the stroller probably has a neighbor his age patrolling in an Iraqi or Afghan hornet’s nest. Or his neighbor has already come home….. In a casket or without an eye, an arm or leg. Well, what can you say, as Don Rumsfeld put it so succinctly; ‘Stuff happens ‘.
I stand each Tuesday at rush hour in peaceful dissent; I get to see lots of license plates. Amazing how many have Marines or Army license tags, or Proud Parent of a Marine. To turn a blind eye to what our government has done and how it has used those brave soldiers is not honoring them at all! The saddest element in all of this is when we few dare to protest our government’s aggression are called…….traitors, unpatriotic, or….. Terrorist lovers! It behooves me that so many can turn out each and every Sunday for a one hour church service, or for hours each month at the many circuses we throw at them like bones to a hungry dog. All those decent and law abiding neighbors of mine refuse to research and then to speak out against what our government has been doing in their name! The German citizenry, the good folks, thought that by electoral politics the Nazis would vanish. They watched the brown shirted thugs and goons march and rally and ‘Zieg Heil ‘for years before Hitler and his crew legitimately took power. There was no ‘coup d’etat‘ in Weimar Germany. No, as with our government, they were a republic. The Nazis took over because too many Germans remained apathetic. Too many priests and ministers did not speak out early on. Too many good and decent folks stayed home while the few who wished to counteract those Nazi ‘Tea Party ‘rallies were out shouted by the mob. Sound familiar?
Perhaps it is time now to move on from the circuses and events. Time now to wash down the cotton candy and hot dogs with a good dash of community activism for the real causes that affect our very future as a democratic republic……. Not the banana republic we have finally become!
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. A graduate of Brooklyn College, class of ’74, Philip has been an anti war activist since the Vietnam War. Philip is now Volusia Cty spokesperson for the nationwide 25% Solution to cut military spending. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns posted on various sites, including, most recently, Dandelion Salad, dissidentvoice.org and progressivepatriots.net, or at his own blog at http://www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.