Lament for the Lorax
What is this place? This maelstrom of dust in which I can see no one? I hear their voices, though, muted in ash, some afraid, some with hate, but most just as confused as I.
Authoritarianism doesn't begin with a big black boot; it begins with the stick of necessity. Our enemies are all around, they will say, and something must be done, and by small measures we begin to build a box around ourselves. Alright with it at first, for its false sense of security, we complain only as it is too late and the last side of the box is put into place.
The first wall of necessity was the War on Terror for which we painted black and white stripes on the world and took away the color of reality and with that duality bent our simple-minded agenda around the neck of the world.
There have been many other walls since then: the Patriot Act; the crotch-fondling and old-lady stripping TSA; the reclassification of some torture as torture-lite, it ain't so bad torture, or diet torture if you like—all of the taste and none of the calories; Citizen's United which made corporations people by those who have evidently read Ayn Rand but not Adam Smith; expansion of surveillance; drones over American skies; suspension of habeas corpus; the Attorney General Eric 'What's due process' Holder giving a speech justifying the targeted killings of American citizens; the ghost of McCarthy spying on American Muslims; etc.
We like building boxes around people it seems. The President chastises others for losing the moral right to rule while standing on a mountain of innocent dead whose lights he extinguished with his angels of death that are constantly hovering in the dark skies.
“It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children or to blow up old women on a bus. That's not how moral authority is claimed, that's how it is surrendered,” Obama said, evidently leaving out the “except by us” part.
If body piles are the calculus to determine righteousness we have long since passed our quota, but then we don't count them the same do we. Those far away darker-skinned bodies that blend into the hills and the deserts, anointed by a God who has a strange voice; nameless, faceless sacks we build boxes around and bury in the sand.
All these innocent people, as beautiful and as wonderful as the 2,983 people we have immortalized in copper and waterfalls and honor year after year at the 911 Memorial. There will be no memorial for these silent others. No recognition, no tick mark even on a scorecard. How many bodies does it take before we see them? What if we were to dump their corpses in the shallow pools and let their guts spill down the waterfalls? What if we lined the National Mall with them, side to side, head to foot? Would we then see them or just walk over them like grass? What will it take for people to see what we have done?
People talk about the decline of America as if there were somewhere left to fall. America has already fallen. It happened a decade ago when we were shaken more than men have a right to be shaken. Or perhaps that is just naïveté. Maybe our fall was an orchestration by rational maestros who saw their opportunity to write their masterpiece. Perhaps it was the corporate jailers who delighted in a world where everyone needed shackles. Maybe it is all of the above. I am only master of one of those things, though I suppose in my own way, by being too silent, I have accepted some irons of my own.
And it is almost too late. For too long we have sacrificed all sense of decency , honor, and nobility to the whim of madmen (and a few women) who see war as a delightful game of chess over a sweet cup of tea, their sons and daughters tucked safely away in private schools that continue to teach that our Exceptionalism means we do not have to count the bodies.
As the world's superpower we could have made a difference—turned the world towards peace and sustainability. Instead we choose to build a world of war and violence. Instead we built a machine of blood and oil that eats everything.
We needed a real life Lorax and all we got was this fat fucking puppet too busy selling popcorn to realize the last tree has already fallen.