Homeland Uber Alles
It may be a dark night in America, but it’s morning here in the Homeland. That’s where you live. You may have been born an American, but you’re a Homelander, now. America is gone. You don’t believe that? Allow me to show you the difference.
In America our right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure cannot be violated, except by a warrant issued by a judge, and then only when someone swears, by oath or testimony, that there is probably cause to do so. The warrant must specifically describe the persons or things to be seized. That’s the 4th Amendment. In Homeland, the NSA vacuums up every communication of every person, innocent or otherwise, then filters and stores it for possible future use. Probable cause be damned.
In America, you cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. That means being charged for some offense, a trial in court, and the advice of legal counsel. Those are the 5th and 6th Amendments. In Homeland, the President can order anyone picked up and indefinitely detained by the military (!), and without due process. Attorney General Eric Holder even stated that due process doesn’t mean judicial process. That’s a sobering statement. The President can also order anyone killed, including American citizens (five so far), also without due process.
In America, and by extension and prison or place of confinement under American control, people cannot be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, like torture. That one is the 8th Amendment. In Homeland, people are left to rot in Guantanamo Bay or other so-called black prisons, while subjected to “enhanced interrogation” techniques, like water-boarding. White House attorneys drafted memos making it legal. They say they’ve stopped all that torture stuff and black prisons, but after so many lies, I’m dubious.
In America, we’re free to work at our jobs without being spied on bosses and co-workers. In Homeland bosses routinely go to employees’ Facebook page and else where to see what they’re up to. For government workers, the Insider Threat Program directs them to watch their co-workers for signs of “high-risk activity” and unconventional behavior, and report to their supervisors periodically.
In America, the 1st Amendment gives us the right to peaceably assemble to protest what we perceive to be injustices. In Homeland, if you’re representing some organization, you must get a permit to protest from the local police, and often post a bond as well. Your group may be moved far from the target of the protest to a “free-speech zane.”
In America, you can go where you want, when you want. In Homeland, if you live in New York City and you are black or Hispanic, you can be subject to “Stop and Frisk” searches by police, often frequently. If you’re Hispanic American citizen and live in Arizona or Alabama, for example, you can be stopped and asked to show your papers. Yes, just like in the World War II movies. If you cannot prove you’re not guilty of illegal immigration, you can be taken away to jail until things are sorted out. And if you don’t have money, the wheels of justice can turn at glacial speeds.
Where did this homeland business come from, anyway? In the national hysteria following 9/11, the Bush administration created the Department of Homeland Security, encompassing FEMA, the Coast Guard, and other security agencies. Vice President Dick Cheney gave us a hint, when he said we were going to “have to go to the dark side, as it were.” I hated the word from the start; it reeked of the German Fatherland or Russian Motherland. And by its definition — having to do with the country where your people come from — it has a built-in anti-immigrant bias. In America, the base of the Statue of Liberty is engraved the poem by Emma Lazarus, “. . . Give me your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . “ but in the Homeland there’s a different message for those who come to find a better life: “Fuck off — we don’t want you here.”
The word isn’t new. During apartheid in South Africa, ancient tribal regions were referred to as homelands. The earliest usage I could find is from the 1936 Nazi rally in Nuremberg, when Rudolf Hess was introducing Adolf Hitler to the crowd as the man who would create “eine heimat zu sein, fur alle Deutschen,” (“to be a homeland for all the German people”). The word has increasingly become a substitute for America, as if government officials were too embarrassed to call it America, because they know it isn’t. Last August, the NSA Chief, Keith Alexander, urged that the NSA surveillance program was “necessary in preventing people with bad intentions from coming into the homeland.” In the same week, President Obama, referring to the terrorists, said “They’ve had the capacity in the past for homeland attacks, like 9/11.” The previous week he’d said that he didn’t find that the NSA program was abusive. Oh, really. I honestly don’t think the NSA gives a rat’s ass about protecting us from terrorists. If anything, another attack would allow them to tighten down the screws even more. Thomas Drake, former NSA whistleblower, was with the agency on 9/11, and says the NSA looked on the event as “a gift.” They’re more interested in protecting themselves from us. It’s the NSA that hates us for our freedoms, not the terrorists. You’ve got to ask yourself who is the real enemy here.
Alright, then, we need a new flag. I propose a huge eyeball on a black background, with the motto: Nos Visi Omnis (We See All). A new flag means we also need a new national anthem. How about “My Homeland ‘Tis of Thee?” We also need a new Pledge of Allegiance, like maybe: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the all-seeing eye of the Homeland, and to the security state for which it stands, one nation, under surveillance, with liberty and justice for no one.” There are many people in this country who will say, “Well, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” To these people I can only say: God bless the Homeland! Homeland Uber Alles! Sieg Heil!
Someone has said people get the kind of government they deserve. Jefferson warned us that democracy can only work with an educated and informed electorate, and we have neither, so I really think we deserve what we get. What can we do? Well, to begin with, we can lock that barn door, as we watch the horse racing into the distance. A better question is what should we have done when we still had the chance? On December 12, 2000, when the Supreme Court appointed a special needs child to be the unelected President, we should have been out in the streets by the millions. Even when we did have a half million in New York City protesting the coming war with Iraq, it was largely ignored by the corporate media. Now how will anyone be able to organize any kind of resistance when all communications are being monitored? This has all happened because as a nation, we let ourselves become fat, complacent, and intellectually lazy, and I’m as guilty as anyone.
As I see it, the only thing left is massive civil disobedience. Have you noticed how police forces all across the country are being militarized? They look more like adult ninja turtles than police (“to serve and protect” my ass). If you go this route, no matter how brutally you’re treated you must remain non-violent, in order to keep public opinion with you. Or you could write or call your member of Congress. Please remain polite. This tactic could bring change, but only in large numbers; then it’s hard to ignore. Tea party/libertarians have given lots of lip service to ideas like liberty, freedom, and too much government intrusion into our lives. What a great opportunity for them and liberal/progressives to span a yawning chasm and find common ground. Those are the only choices I can think of, though I doubt people in this country have the stomach for a fight. We’ve been too well trained in what psychologists call “learned helplessness.” Anyway, this entire system is about to collapse under its own weight, so we should be preparing for self-sufficiency. I don’t mean going all survivalist, but putting away food and water, getting to know more about edible plants in your local area, that kind of thing. We should also be concentrating on what kind of society we want to build to replace this one. Next time I vote that we abandon the kind of model that rewards high-functioning psychopaths over everyone else.