Your Local Thought Police
May 1, 2003
By Japhy Ryder
Yes, yes, yes. We should be concerned about the implications
of the Patriot Act. We should be acutely concerned about the
Bush Administration's seemingly unabated thirst for power
and control. Yes, Ashcroft should be feared.
But these are the things that should be concerning us most
about our eroding freedom of speech:
The conservatives are now in control of all three branches
of the federal government. Talk radio passes for news, and
the news no longer concerns itself with objectivity or presenting
a balanced story.
This again should cause concern, but not as much as the everyday
thought police throughout the country.
I'm talking about the local school that bans children from
wearing a shirt that questions the President. I highly doubt
there would've been much consternation if a child had worn
a "Slick Willy" shirt.
Wearing a peace symbol is now considered traitorous. Believing
in peace is now considered anti-American; worse, conveying
those beliefs can get you into serious trouble.
We've so far only had a few unwarranted arrests for advocating
peace, generally among protestors, where it's been well known
that police will arrest a protestor for doing anything other
than simply standing. But we are headed down the path where
expressing a view, contrary to the party in power, might land
you in prison. And there seems to be no outrage!
Kids are sent home from school for voicing their opinions.
People are losing their jobs for questioning the Administration.
Artists are receiving death threats from the rabid right-wingers
for having the audacity to question whether Bush really has
the best interests of the country in mind.
And there is no outrage.
Sure, there's outrage among the left. We're trying to tell
people what's happening, but the Administration, along with
getting the general population to go along with the Thought
Police mentality, has convinced them that liberals are wackos,
flitting along with our silly liberal ideas. Give the Bush
team this, they are wonderful propagandists.
I don't want us to be right about this. I really don't. I
will derive no satisfaction from telling them that we were
right after the fact. But it is happening before our very
eyes. There is less and less dissention against this Administration,
and they couldn't be happier. Senator Kerry made a completely
valid statement about regime change in America, Bush questioned
his patriotism. A privileged military evader questioned the
patriotism of a veteran. And got away with it! Kerry
was forced to apologize to feed the salacious appetite of
our increasingly right wing media and populace.
And this sort of thing is happening every single day in America.
Most of the stories go unwritten, but rest assured they are
happening. Living in the South (Jerry Falwell's Lynchburg,
VA to be exact) I dare not mention my political views or thoughts
of the Administration while at work. I understand the consequences
that my doing so could bring about. Meanwhile down the hall
from me another manager blasts Hannity in his office for all
Were I to hang a peace symbol in my office, I would probably
be hauled into my boss' office to hear how important it is
to support the troops.
There is a brainwashing going on right now. And it is reactionary,
nationalistic, paranoid and frightening. It's being led by
George W. Bush and a cadre of right wingers starving for power,
money and complete control. And it seems way too familiar.
I hope that we aren't right about what comes next.