For those of us in America who have the cushion of assuming a daily life free of being physically kicked in the ass, jailed, blacklisted or fired from our jobs for political reasons, or threatened or worse by goons who do whatever the state pays them to do, it is now time to let go of the illusion.
That kind of normalcy has long been a First World problem. Not anymore.
Our personal American bubbles, within which our opinions don’t endanger our uneventfully going to the store or having company over or exercising our right to free speech, are bursting. Fast. Entire swaths of our population – people who work for entire governmental departments that are suddenly forbidden to talk to the public or to the press(!!), law enforcement officers who are ordered to round up newly targeted populations, journalists who are put on brutal notice for what they can and cannot ask or say, citizens who are forced to accept the possibility of being disappeared into unaccountable “black sites” according to the whims of a regime that makes and enforces its own rules in secret – are being herded, under threat of injury, into a new way of life.
This is me, and you, that I’m talking about. Every day this week in the United States, more corporate supervisors and religious leaders and mayors and teachers and police and janitors and hospital administrators and writers and child care workers and musicians and congresspersons and government administrative workers are treading more carefully, self-editing, yielding ground, backing off, facing an awful and humiliating choice between what is right and what is safe.
If you’re not scared, and if you’re not pissed off beyond belief at having to confront being scared, you’re in denial.
So let go of what you thought the ground rules were for America in 2017. Adjust to what they are.
And choose: in the face of half our population’s being drunk on an intoxicating autocracy, who are you going to be? Right now?