When I was a kid I took for granted that America was the greatest country in the world, if it ever was. Didn’t we hear it all the time? In movies and speeches, classrooms and hallways, it just was. It was reality. Who wouldn’t want to believe something so lovely? I felt like a hero just knowing that fact.
No one questioned it. We didn’t know that was even an option, but why would you? You can’t question something so – so true!
The brilliance of our republic was great. It was a real beckon of hope to millions of lives. No one would argue. But with such a bright history it’s no wonder so many find it (seemingly) unbearable to say goodnight to those national hopes. We don’t want to believe all that is over.
But over it is. Gone are the days when our presidents were respected, when our citizens were happy, when the world awed at our blessings. Long gone. If you haven’t realized this, you probably feel it.
Soon though it will be clear as a bell.
The reasons for the end of our glory days are many yet people I see and work with everyday aren’t aware and live as if it all means nothing. So I’m going to spend time laying out (some of) the elements, one by one. The ones that can’t go ignored.
"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." - Edward Murrow
I was washing dishes one morning at work – in a home with intellectually-handicapped children – and one of my coworkers can’t not have the local news blaring whether she’s in the room or not. I can’t stand that. Plus, to make things better, she’s terrifically in love with complaining about her life to everyone not interested.
From where I was in the kitchen you could look through a cutout in the wall directly above the sink and see the television in the living room. The news anchor started talking about armored vehicles or something for local police in western Washington. Hello! A jolt of information went off in me. I looked up, listening with all my life, drying some dish.
I tuned everything else out. Had to. She, the anchor, went on about the government’s new policies or some new program - maybe she said it was issued from the Pentagon, I can’t remember. Basically, local police were getting an upgrade. A militarized upgrade.
Then the next topic. That was it. So nonchalant and smooth. Accept it and move on, they seemed to say.
But how could we, especially when we know the founding fathers would whole-heartedly disapprove? Why do the local police need equipment used in war?
This has spawned heaps of books and articles and interviews with experts, one of them being John Whitehead, attorney, author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and president and spokesperson of The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit devoted to civil liberties and human rights.
American historian, political analyst and author Tom Woods interviewed John Whitehead and there is a sixteen-minute clip that lays out some of the important basics. Take 1% of your day and listen to it (watch below).
And if you like to read, two other books that may be of interest are Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces and How America Was Lost: From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State. All three books are available on Kindle as well.
Bigger guns, more gear, stronger and tougher machines may not seem like a huge deal. After all, we've been told the Pentagon just had extra stuff and gave it away. That was it, simple. But why couldn't police in San Diego return their armored vehicles? I mean, let's be honest, when will they ever use them? Useful or not you don't just send back a gift from the Pentagon.
There's more going on here than just an awkward gift exchange. There's an agenda. More on that next. In the meantime, start asking questions, read some articles (there are dozens online), and talk with local police.
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc; photo credit: trainman74 via photopin cc