I Hate To Keep Bringing This Up But…
There was a lot of talk during the Clinton years about how his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky affected the rest of the country. Those of us who thought the whole thing was ridiculous could see it was casting a shadow over much more important issues, but for those who wanted to take Clinton down, there was a lot of talk about how his lewd behavior trickled down to the rest of society. The argument was that, when the President declared that oral sex wasn’t sex, this somehow gave kids the “all clear” to engage in oral sex and still retain their virginity. I’d argue that kids have been playing that game forever, but I still see the point. The President does set the tone for the nation, and our current President’s penchant for domestic spying and strong-armed tactics in dealing with dissenting opinions is also trickling down.
A woman in Georgia gets a ticket for having a bumper sticker on her car that reads, “I’m tired of all the BUSHIT.” A San Diego woman is fired from her job for a bumper sticker on her car advertising a progressive radio station. A couple pays off their credit card and Homeland Security is notified and puts a hold on their check until they can investigate. Americans who stray from the “normal” way of doing business, whether getting their financial house in order, listening to progressive radio or expressing their displeasure with the current administration, are suddenly considered threats to society. Is this really what we have come to? Homeland Security is looking out for the bottom line of the credit card companies and employers and local police see it as their role to force compliance to social norms? This should be disturbing to every American.
A high school kid in Denver tape-records his teacher because of his lectures pointing out the similarities between the way Bush operates and the way Hitler did. Whether or not what this teacher said was crossing the line, it seems to me that this kid perfectly illustrated the similarity between the rise of Nazi Germany and the rise of Bush America by imitating the Hitler youth. I’m not saying that what this teacher said is right or that the kid was wrong to have taped him, all I’m saying is that the similarities are there. When dissent is quashed at the top, dissent is viewed much differently at the local level. Bush isn’t mandating that local police give out tickets for political dissent, nor is he advocating that kids turn in teachers who speak ill of his policies, but it’s happening anyway. In Bush’s America, dissent is a bad word and his propaganda machine is effectively tying dissent to terrorism. Is it really any wonder that those of us who express displeasure with this administration are viewed as dangerous?
In our America, it is still the responsibility of citizens to speak out against the abuses of our government and conforming to social norms is not mandatory to be an American. What happened to the respect for rugged individualism that this country took such great pride in? Why is it all of a sudden un-American to question the role of government in our lives? And when did we decide that Bush’s ideal of America takes precedence over our founding father’s ideal? Bush is not Hitler and Republicans are not Nazis, but more and more Americans are starting to mimic the behavior of German citizens in the 1930s and 1940s. We always believed that we would be better, that we would resist the urge to comply. I guess we’ll see how far people are willing to go for a sense of security, however false it may be. We were meant to be wary of excessive government control and instead we seem to be begging for more. Abandoning our guiding principles in the name of security will not make us safer, it will only transfer the threat we face from outside forces to inside ones, and who wants to live in that America? I know I don’t.