I’ve been having panic attacks lately. I wake up and my first thought is “Are we still here?”
Those mornings, I guess I am hoping that the nightmare we are living is over. With the loss of so much of what I was taught made the U.S. exceptional, things can get much worse before they get better. They did for Chileans and Argentinians in the 1970s, for Venezuelans recently, for South Africans in the 1950s and many other nations and peoples. How far back do you want to go? We are not so exceptional as to be able to avoid a similar fate if we don’t pay attention. The breakdown in New Orleans is an example to me of fraying at the edges, threads in our fabric torn and unraveling.
It is not just the removal of habeas corpus, the spread of warrantless wiretapping and spying on Internet traffic, cronyism that renders our institutions into hollow shells (re: FEMA), the removal of Dept. of Justice lawyers who don’t tow the line etcetera etcetera etcetera. Given the thugs running the show, I no longer trust that the truth or the good will out, or that truth is even the objective. So what have I got to depend on for my safety, my privacy, my human rights?
Today Republicans blocked debate — debate! — on the Iraq war, an issue literally bleeding us of our hope and security. Sen. Gordon Smith of Iraq, after professing anguish over the situation in Iraq and saying he was at the end of his rope, decided the topic wasn’t worth a frank discussion for his constituents to see. We Oregonians should all feel infantilized by him. (Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon voted for the debate, thank you.)
As James Joyce once said, “History is a dream from which we do not awake.” Or something like that.