All you baby boomers and 50 somethings out there must remember the ‘air raid drills ‘of our youth. How we were pounded with that alarm gong, and then hurried either beneath our desks or out in the hallways of our schools. They taught us how to ‘ assume the position ‘ under those desks or against the hallway walls while the alarm rang through our ears. We obeyed, because our very lives could be at stake. Then, a few short years later, I can remember our Catholic church being filled to capacity in late October 1962. We attended an emergency Novena for a peaceful conclusion of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many among us were in tears of fear for the possible nuclear war that was brewing. We obeyed the priest and prayed to God for salvation from the coming Apocalypse.
The past 10 years of a ‘War on Terror ‘are replete with color codes and distrust of anything Moslem or Arabic. Many Americans swallowed the bitter pill of half truths, disinformation and outright fabrications of fact. They obeyed and never questioned! Those of us who did question and/or offered dissent were (and are) branded as ‘unpatriotic ‘or ‘terrorist supporters ‘. Newscasters wore those flag buttons on their lapels and blouses, as they trumpeted the orders to Shock and Awe the Afghans and Iraqis into oblivion. Katie Couric walked through the hallways of the Pentagon shouting ‘ Marines Rock ‘ , and Dan Rather told his president ( through the camera lens ) that he would follow whatever lead he was given. Phil Donohue had his cable talk show pulled off the air because he dared to discuss dissenting views about the upcoming invasion of Iraq. We who stood on the street corners in February 2003 were blasted by many as being ‘disloyal ‘to our nation. ‘Remember 9/11 ‘was the mantra that followed this activist for years after the 2003 invasion, as I stood each week in peaceful protest. So many obeyed and never questioned. Look what karma it has brought to us now.
Each time we begin to make comparisons and correlations between the Germany of the early 1930s and America 21st century, we get blasted for being obtuse. Germany, they tell us, was under a ‘totalitarian and fascist regime ‘… here we have a ‘democracy ‘. Really? Well, try to run for state or federal office without raising or spending tens and hundreds of millions! Try to go against the Two Party beast that controls all politics, receiving its manna and orders from basically the same Fat Cats. Check out the You Tubes that are being shared to see how we are already a police state. Peaceful protestors at the UC Davis campus were participating in civil disobedience. The police came, dressed in riot gear, and pepper sprayed and clubbed them as they were sitting. Why? These kids simply would not obey! An American soldier who spent time in Iraq under our illegal and immoral occupation – I refuse to call it a ‘ War ‘ – was harmed with a tear gas canister and had to be hospitalized with a brain injury. Was he threatening the police? No. He was simply demonstrating his right of free speech and assembly. In Asheville, North Carolina, the police videotaped peaceful protestors handing out leaflets- a major unlawful act! Then, they waited until the individuals were alone, perhaps walking along or going to work… and they swarmed down and arrested them!
We know how the Republicans, especially this current crop of presidential candidates (excepting Ron Paul), are great at obeying the empire’s rulers. Perhaps with this new and most likely unconstitutional ‘Defense Authorization Act ‘, we should clearly see how Mr. Obama and the majority of his party are equally serving the same empire. There may be levels of repression and injustice, with the Republicans way off the radar and the centrist Democrats now housed inside the regular right wing. Yet, they both will do nothing to stop the excesses of this crazy circus called Amerika. It will take a joining together of libertarians, progressives and true conservatives to thwart this runaway train. We should obey the traffic lights and traffic signs. We should adhere to the age old practice of common courtesies… but never blindly obey the orders of those who do not obey the precepts of moral justice.
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (usually found on the fine Dandelion Salad site), an environmental products sales rep and an activist. Since 2010, Philip is a spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at email@example.com.