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Buying Your Own Death
June 14, 2002
By Bridget Gibson

This week we learned of an American citizen, Jose Padillo, whom they have taken to permanent detention purgatory. Attorney General John Ashcroft and George W. Bush have stripped him of all rights. His crime? Looking something up on the Internet. Will he get a hearing? No. Can he have an attorney to represent him? No. Have they charged him with a crime? No. He is the first of a new breed in America. Let's call it the "Disappeared." How many more American citizens will they allow this junta to disappear before our country wakes up? I think one is too many. However, knowing the complacency with which the vast majority view the workings of our government, a thousand will be too few to even signal to them that they, too, are at risk.

Soon, your son or daughter, doing research for a term paper or science project, could stumble into the abyss of questionable knowledge. And you, dear citizens, will say "they should not need to know these things." You will attempt to limit their knowledge because you are threatened by those that might know more than you. You have allowed yourselves to become the land of the stupid and the world of the coward. You are unwilling to stand your ground and represent the worst of the worst. You have failed this country and you are failing your children. You have allowed the monsters that you have created to begin their blood fest and you do not care who they eat.

"Feed them the poor," "feed them the foreigner," "feed them the needy," "feed them anyone they want." Those have been your underlying mantras as you have cravenly allowed them to strip the Constitution and Bill of Rights. A nick here, a chip there, here a bit, there a bit, everywhere a little bit. Feed the monster as long as you can. Pretty soon it will begin to eat you, too.

You have fed the monster by buying into the slick commercialism and consumerism of greed. There's a big case of the "I got mines" and screw everybody else. Keep me safe and I will continue to shop at Walmart, continue to drive my gas guzzling SUV for pleasure and commuting. Who cares that the environment cannot continue to support your greed. "Go and exploit some other country" you cry. Don't look at Enron's human rights abuses in Burma. Don't look at Halliburton's chicanery with Iraq. Don't look, don't look because you might see where you have fallen on your own sword.

"Give me some sexy story" you beg the television. Show me some gore and blood, you plead. Let's see some killing fields in the movie theater, you cry.

And now your denials. I didn't do that. How could my shopping preferences have lead to this? you ask. When have you told yourself "no?" Never. Why do you think that is what you see on the news and at the movies? Because you buy it. Why do you think your downtown and business districts have failed? Because you buy at Walmart, looking for a "good" deal. Well, you have dealt yourselves a handful of crap. You have allowed the sprawl-marts to take your local jobs (the grocer, the baker, the butcher, the pharmacist, the bookseller) and turn them into "door greeters" that work part-time jobs that pay minimum wage and no benefits. You have allowed them to concentrate all of the money from your neighborhood into one big nasty pocket of ooze.

You have lost your towns and now you are losing your rights. Soon, you too can have a place next to Jose Padillo, for looking something up on the Internet.

You have lined up to give up your rights and in the process you have taken mine. You have supported the destruction of the American way of life for blind consumerism and the momentary titillation of your senses. You have declared the wealthy as a superior class and have forgotten that they have made their billions at the taxpayer's expense. You have ignored the hypocrisy of the right-wing ideologues and the blatant spin of the politicians. You have allowed all that is good in life to be corrupted by your own complicity and complacency. Just remember that you are not at the top of the feeding chain and you are next in their path.

Today is Flag Day. While you stand there saluting and waving that flag that supposedly represents all that is America, you might check out that little tag in the corner. If it doesn't say "Made in USA," perhaps you should question where the jobs and prosperity have gone. And remember that things have a way of happening when you are not watching. If you do not become more vigilant, your liberties and way of life will soon be "disappeared."

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