Why isn’t the Tea Party up in arms over the emerging American Police State? For all their tri-corner hats, knickers, white knee socks and tub thumping about freedom how is it that they are tolerating the pervasive surveillance being conducted against, most ostensibly, the occupy protesters. Are they being cowardly in the face of blatant Fascist government behavior, are they convinced they are not being watched, or perhaps they are a party to the crackdown being more in line with mainstream government policy than they are willing to admit to? In any case, as long as it’s happening to someone else perhaps the Tea Party feels safe and secure. The Tea Party activists have no understanding of the original Tea Party whose protest was against taxation without representation. This isn’t about costumes, however fetching, but about principles and a rudimentary understanding of history: it’s about community and basic humanity.
In case you aren’t aware there is in place a comprehensive system of coordinated police activity across the country via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) compliments of the Obama administration. The DHS maintains what they call a National Operations Center which according to the agency is, “the primary national-level hub for domestic situational awareness, common operational picture, information fusion, information sharing, communications, and coordination pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management.” The information gathered through local police departments, the FBI, the CIA, the US military, and other law enforcement agencies exists to monitor what you do when you exercise your rights as an American to protest. That is to say every American’s constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully for social justice without being tracked on the “domestic situational awareness” radar.
One must ask if the folks who brought this into being and run it are actually Americans or are they some sort of uber-agents, beyond the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Have these agents ever taken a civics class in high school. Might it be that they have modeled their agencies and their methods after the Gestapo, Stasi, and the KGB. These were state sponsored organizations designed for the same purposes concerned mainly with social control of a country’s own citizens exercising their rights and were, in their time, highly effective in controlling the public via “domestic situational management”. In Russia today there is resurgence of KGB behavior, now called the FSB but essentially the same organization – a rose by any other name is still a rose – in the past month has harassed and arrested Russian citizens for – Guess what? – protesting unfair and corrupt elections and a lack of social justice; in American terms, “domestic incident management”.
The arc of social evolution is like an old LP that stuck in a couple of grooves playing the same few notes over and over again until the needle is lifted and placed somewhere else. Socially we seem to ratchet from 1950s McCarthyism in one form or another to democracy in one form or another to plutocracy in one form or another and then back again. What is consistent is that people slide into and away from freedom to bondage. Today’s bondage consists of debt and unemployment. The debt represented by student loans is by far the most cynical trapping of an entire generation in a modern Dickensian debtor’s prison of limited possibilities and dystopian future. Young people and their families invested in a future that was taken away from them by big banks and big business. The banking and mortgage industry colossus just recently demonstrated how little was learned from the financial crisis we all bailed them out of a short while ago. How much was learned by J. P. Morgan from that financial collapse one wonders when their CEO, Jamie Dimon recently announced a $2 billion “mistake”. You’ll remember Jamie, he’s the guy who personally gave the New York City cops a couple of million bucks last winter as a tip presumably for keeping the #occupy people away from his high-rise condo. Great guy! Great city! Great cops – New York’s finest they say.
On May 18th, 35,948 American citizens around the US were arrested 45 of which were for protesting American NATO membership. Takes me back to the “good old days” of the Vietnam and Selma protests. Did we really think things were going to be changed, that the social contract as expressed in the Constitution had been reaffirmed and enforced especially now by a president whose presidency rests on protestors who endured the beatings and killings of the civil rights era? In the current May 28th, 2012 issue of Newsweek magazine is a story on American veterans who are committing suicide at the rate of 18 a day. That’s right, 18 American veterans are taking their own lives every day. If some deranged individuals were roaming the United States killing 18 people a day it would be in headlines across the country and reported as carnage. Where is the Tea Party Patriot’s outrage over the matter of 18 American veterans taking their own lives daily, where is their opprobrium or is it just the taxes they must pay to be members of the society that matters to them? Where is the American conscience? Do we still have one or are we devolving into country without a conscience?
This essay first appeared at: The Light of New Mexico