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"I estimate the Jose Padilla 'float' to be somewhere around step D on our alphabetical timeline."

The Parade 
Posted March 23, 2005 thepeoplesvoice.org

By: Kerry Tomasi

Among the dozens of outrages that haunt me these days, the Jose Padilla case is one of the most troubling. 

If 4-5 years ago I had made a prediction that the President of the United States would one day seize for himself the authority to strip any U.S. citizen of all rights - that on his whim alone, he could have them arrested, imprisoned indefinitely without charges or trial, and even executed - I would have been met with derisive laughter and accused of being a complete idiot, with no understanding whatsoever about our Constitution or how our system of checks and balances works. 

Yet here we are, 2 ˝ years already into a "test case", and evidently the majority in this country now sees nothing wrong with it. What was absolutely crazy to ponder 4-5 years ago is now accepted with a yawn and an apathetic: 

"Well, he must have done something wrong". 

Oh… how do you know? 

"Because the President said so!"

What has happened to us? Is it really that difficult for people to recognize this most distinctive characteristic of a totalitarian system? Have we already slipped into that 'despotism haze' and don't realize it, or do we just not give a damn?

The degradation of our civil rights; the stifling of dissent and loyalty oaths; pre-scripted press conferences; covert propaganda disguised as news; concentration camps and torture; preemptive attacks on sovereign countries… is there anything this administration could ever do that would be so fundamentally wrong or outrageous that people would refuse to tolerate it? Or will there just be an incessant parade of these outrages, each preparing us to accept the next "patriotic float" with little or no umbrage? 

One thing to remember about parades, they always space those floats out: 

"…But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked. But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D." - ("They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933 - 45")

I estimate the Jose Padilla 'float' to be somewhere around step D on our alphabetical timeline. And although that may seem like a long way from the dreaded X, Y, and Z's, these things tend to accelerate exponentially once they get rolling. 

Therefore, in just 4-5 years I predict…

Ah, what's the point? You'd never believe me. 

You may as well just sit back and enjoy the parade.

And be sure to enthusiastically wave those flags as they pass by! You wouldn't want to get into any "trouble" with the Parade Marshal. 

Otherwise you just might be selected to be an unwilling participant yourself. 


© Copyright 3/22/05 by Kerry Tomasi. Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged.



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