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It may be self-evident, but I'll say it anyway. It's really about my perceptions versus the wider, sometimes more profound nature of reality that I miss. I mean, I either know something about the bigger picture and just look past it or completely don't understand what is or that there is a bigger picture. Is that what coming to greater awareness is about, admitting to the limits of my mental acuity, or even my ability to encapsulate the big, overarching truth in words that will strike the bell?  "Ding, ding, ding, ding. You're absolutely right. Johnny, tell our contestant what he's won..." That, of course, just ain't going to happen for real.

Washington Times-Herald building in 1922, around the time when William Randolph Hearst bought the paper.
Rehabbed building these days. Glad they kept the facade at least.
Even as I sit here at the keyboard in my workspace (don't tell my supervisor), in the rehabbed Washington Times-Herald building, how often do I perceive or even fathom that I, along with all of us, am hurtling through space at 67,000 miles per hour, spinning at 25,000 miles per hour? This building I'm sitting in stood abandoned for years, decaying, and has now been altered so much that I doubt those spirits of journalists past, including that of a certain, lovely, recent George Washington University French literature graduate who took a photographer job at that long-gone paper in the early 1950s, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, even bother to grace its halls and stairways.
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, photographer at Washington Times Herald in the early 1950s.
If I can imagine this at any given time, I must be focusing on these, much more mundane notions inside or in front of me, so much so ithat I can give credence to an illusion that what I think or say about the world supersedes in importance much larger truths that, after all, will outlive me.  One of those concerns that awesomely beautiful planet we're all spinning on. Were it to somehow become uninhabitable or simply stop spinning or rotating, all other bets would be off, right?
That beautiful place where all of us live, work, laugh, love, and all that other stuff we do.
I'm thinking about my past now, or my greater "role" in understanding what crucial issues are burning for attention. There's a lot of illusion (self-delusion?) in how I have viewed myself and my past.

Perhaps it's now OK to admit that it was in fact I who peed on the fender of one of several Chicago Police cars parked in front of my high school, during one of several "walk-outs" to protest some "police state" violation of civil rights in the early 1970s. Pretty stupid and juvenile when I look back on that one. In those days, 40+ years ago, we might have walked out (so we thought) to honor the Kent State dead, the ongoing Vietnam War, or the fact that Richard Nixon still occupied the Oval Office. The fact that there was a free concert at the local forest preserve sponsored by Rising Up Angry and that it was an unseasonably warm day in May, and that one of our gang had recently "copped" some reportedly "clean" acid might also have influenced our collective decision to walk out as well. I'm just sayin'. Hard to tell now, but I'm leaning toward the latter motive these days.

Cover of an issue of the Rising Up Angry newspaper.
Cover of an issue of the Chicago Seed.
In those days, some of us tried to be informed, reading the Chicago Seed and the Rising Up Angry monthly newspaper. My best friend at that time, Willie Schultz, who ended up drowning in 1972, our sophomore year, even stole Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book from a "head shop" on Wells Street where we used to sit on the floor on occasion, tripping, in a poster-filled room complete with blacklights.
Cover of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book.
We even read the book, though I don't recall a bit of the text anymore. I certainly don't believe today that any of this experience gives me some kind of street "cred" as a revolutionary, or even former revolutionary, for quite a number of reasons, which I hope you'll allow me to share...

We were blue collar kids, hippie wanna-bes, maybe, I don't know, confused kids for sure, but certainly not politically astute. I do remember that. Most of those I hung with were not college-bound, even distrusted formal education. Maybe suspecting we'd never get to college anyway, we'd already given up. Who knows? The point for me was that, with few prospects other than the factory, loading dock, and restaurant jobs I'd already worked as a work-study student through high school, I joined the Army while the Vietnam War was, technically, still going on. For some folks who render opinions here I guess that makes me just another stooge of the police state/proto-facist/MIC. Whatever. Through the whims of circumstance, time's caprice, I did not become a combat veteran either. In April of 1975, the war truly ended and I was still in basic training. I've since been told, sometimes sternly, sometimes gently, but almost always with brotherly love, by war veterans among my family and friends or those with whom and for whom I've worked over the years, that I should not count missing combat as anything but good fortune or a blessing. Those I've spoken to have never put me in "my place" or made me feel "inferior" for not having been in combat (unless we were getting drunk and I tried to inflate my own experiences as a veteran). Had things gone another way and had I been in combat, my life, they've made me realize, were I to have survived, might have become exceedingly more difficult than it became anyway. I tend to believe those wonderful people nowadays.

Whatever I think my experiences have "earned" me, or whatever membership in whatever group I might have hoped those experiences would have gained for me, what I perceive those lessons to be or to have been has changed much over time. I hope I am maturing if nothing else.

I've already said much more than I'd set out to about myself, and apologize for that. I'd like to say something else, that, thanks to that military experience, serving in racially diverse units (in good part because this was the Vietnam era and I was in a combat MOS (military occupational specialty), 11D10 (Cavalry), I built some friendships with Black Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic/Latino Americans.  Thanks to that military service, I also came out with the GI Bill, with which I was able to go to college, through which I chose to take courses to learn more about the history and experiences of my fellow Americans with racial/ethnic origins different from my own. I do NOT consider myself some kind of expert in their experiences in this country by any stretch.

I am mentioning this here because in several recent diaries on Daily Kos, I have seen individuals identify current NSA surveillance activities, their actual and potential impact on civil rights, and connect the need to somehow "act" on these civil rights violations by connecting our collective experience with what Black Americans historically experienced in this country under literal slavery and Jim Crow laws. One diary went so far as to offer a lengthy quote from Frederick Douglass, a real former slave and abolitionist who risked life every day by simply being alive, walking along the street, so to speak. Another diary showed a picture of a burning bus during the freedom rides in the early 1960s, suggesting that those informing us about surveillance overreach and calling us to some kind of, as yet, emerging "action" against the police state serve in some capacity similar to those who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives, either by their civil disobedience, or, if they were Black, by simply living and breathing.

Frederick Douglass, probably about the time he was attacked in New York for walking with two white women, a truly revolutionary act.
Regarding someone I consider a genuine "freedom fighter," here's an interesting, documented tidbit I picked up years ago about Frederick Douglass reading William McFeely's biography of this truly amazing man. Douglass was walking in New City after an anti-slavery rally, arm-in-arm with Julia Griffith and her sister, Eliza, as unconfirmed rumors of his possible "intimacy" with Julia swirled around:
The more loudly the abolitionists deplored the interracial relationship, the happier their opponents became. To be sure, since Douglass traveled with both sisters, he could not be accused of sexual impropriety, except by the truly prurient, but simply the sight of a black man escorting white women was enough to raise hackles. Walking along the Battery in New York City after attending the 1850 May meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, the three were accosted by a gang of white men; shouting obscene epithets, the men dragged Douglass away and beat him, until a policeman, hunted up by the women, drove the attackers off.

The act of walking and talking, for both this man and these women, was inherently a truly "revolutionary" act. One could imagine the impact on the women's reputation, at a time when reputation, within their historical context, was directly related to their social mobility and security. They, too, were in defiance against the status quo simply walking and talking. We can understand the action's revolutionary character by its result, the impact it had, upon them and others around them. I am certain that they were not even acting in a way to intend that this was revolutionary. One might even suggest that they were careless, should have been more careful of the circumstance surrounding their action. Shouldn't they have known that walking and talking in that fashion could have gotten one of them killed? They almost certainly didn't set out to precipitate what occurred. Yet it was revolutionary. By simply being who he was and doing whatever he did, Douglass' life became an ongoing act of rebellion.

So how, I ask you, are my observations here, propounding theories or arguing about perceived actual or potential impacts of electronic surveillance upon civil rights anywhere comparable to what actual fighters for freedom in the eras of slavery or the Civil Rights Movement experienced daily? I just don't see it, I'm sorry. What I see instead is either hyperbole to get attention or naivete among novice (self-appointed?) "activists."

To me, it's something like me posting my "revolutionary" blog entry, grabbing my lap top, putting on my Che Guevarra t-shirt and "skinny jeans" (or hip huggers if you're a geezer like me), heading out to the Starbucks for a double-espresso, no chaser, to share my "radical" thinking, and then calling it rebellion. It seems a tad pretentious to me, like hyping my youthful ways and thinking I was a Yippie or something. In many ways, there's nothing "wrong" with cramming my square, middle-aged white butt into tight pants and a "Che" shirt and thinking I'm voicing solidarity with proletarian revolution, but neither than nor "calling out" the NSA on a blog is in any significant way comparable to a terrified but heroic group of normal individuals marching for freedom against Bull Connor and his fire hose- or baton-wielding thugs.

However, I granted myself the idea that I might have been over-reacting, so I did check myself on this. If there is any consolation to those whose writing I'm going on about here, for the sake of perspective on my emotional response to all of this, I did a very unscientific poll. I asked one person, a dear friend whom I love, who also happens to be a Black American woman who is 60 years old, what she thinks about what I saw as this hyperventilating hijack of true civil rights battles to whip up some kind of faux revolutionary posse against the police state. My friend's name is Rosa Hodge. She's a retired DC Public School science teacher. She's very active in her Southeast, DC, community, and has been politically active for most of her life.

After listening to me rant, she told me to relax ("Breathe," she said). It's just an example of folks "trying to identify" with what others have gone through in the best way they can. Be patient, she said. Go easy on them, she said. Maybe they're just young or maybe they're just trying to make a difference in the best way they know how. Let it go, she said. I will try to follow that advice. Alas, there's a contingent around here who would dismiss Rosa's sage advice out-of-hand since, as a Christian, she represents that superstitious, non-reality-based community I hear folks railing against here on Dkos occasionally. Oh, well.

Still, I can't this conflict totally out of my head. See, thinking about Frederick Douglass got me thinking about Trayvon Martin, someone who, by simply walking out of the house while Black, in some ways just like Frederick Douglass, risked his life. In Trayvon Martin's case, he lost his life by simply living. For some people in our country, simply living still seems to be an act of rebellion at any given time or place. I still think that reality (this young man was truly killed) takes precedence over someone else's notion of emerging NSA-fueled police state. See, I already grew up in a perceived police state, 40+ years ago. I have since come to realize that my limited perceptions often cause me to miss much more than I am able to understand at any given time. Honestly, though, I still wish all of us true peace, real friendship and love along this path. I really do.

3:03 PM PT: Thank you Rescue Rangers. d

Originally posted to dannyboy1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Miss Rosa (13+ / 0-)

    is a wise lady.

    War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

    by DaNang65 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:29:24 AM PDT

  •  No, I think you've absolutely nailed it. (7+ / 0-)

    The sense of entitled self importance of some of the info-paranoids that have taken residence down the right side of the screen has lead some of them to do something rhetorically obscene: attempt to usurp the legacy of racism in the United States to prove that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They simply took a current event and crammed it into their own obsession, apparently oblivious to how patently offensive the comparison was.

    Reading those diaries and comments I had many of the same thoughts you did, but they were not as well thought out, nor nearly as charitable.

    The NSA is an important topic, but its importance does forgive the shamefulness of those comparisons.

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:22:19 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. I think it's an almost odd, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, pixxer

      though, that Rosa helped me arrive at that elevated level of charitableness. Maybe that's why more folks who have felt uncomfortable (or angry) over the "hijack" notion have chosen not to engage. Maybe they're more used to seeing it. With time, I guess, the overreactors will move on to the next outrage. Maybe.

      I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

      by dannyboy1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:38:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think your science teacher friend has (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        an excellent point. One should not attempt to get attacked with a baton just to find oneself equal to those who fought past battles. If we can win battles with words online, which sometimes do matter and make a difference, it is a better thing. For the most part, bloggers risk very little, but identifying oneself as part of the battle is a good step.

        Not that I don't agree with every word you wrote :) Terrific diary, thanks!

        •  I've thought a lot about it, too, (0+ / 0-)

          and education is activism (and education takes many forms). I am thinking not just in the classroom, too, such as here, or the supposed "commie" college students who took us into their house in the late sixties to ask us questions about the civil rights movement and to tell us what they thought, too. That was activism as was the seemingly benign but influential teachings of Catholic nuns who taught some degree of sympathy for civil rights (it wasn't liberation theology necessarily but it did open our minds a bit, I'm sure). So I agree with you, too. Thanks.

          I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

          by dannyboy1 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 03:26:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder why it's necessary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for you to resort to insults and ad hom attacks about people concerned about an issue you may not share concern on.

      insult :

      ad hom :
      lead some of them to do something rhetorically obscene: attempt to usurp the legacy of racism in the United States to prove that they are right and everyone else is wrong
      Your accusations of racism are totally false and I'm afraid I have to call you out and demand you link to examples of this racism.

      If there is any real substance to your accusations you can do it and if there is an honorable bone in your body, having made such accusations you will do it.

      Besides, the house rule : extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof.

      Lastly, may I ask you a simple question:

      The USA spent $52.6 Billion on secret "Black Budget" surveillance and spying last year while funding to urban and rural schools serving minority students continues to be cut year after year.

      But criticism these programs and this spending is racist and paranoid?

      •  Three replies: (0+ / 0-)

        1) did you not note the use of the word "some"?

        2) Did you not note the last sentence?

        3) Does the shoe fit?

        Non futuis apud Boston

        by kenlac on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:31:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And a fourth: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I did not accuse anyone of racism -- I accused someone of trying to hitch their rhetorical wagon to the victims of racism. Sort of anti-racism, except to a vulgar fault.

        Non futuis apud Boston

        by kenlac on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 10:34:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me give it back to you as written (0+ / 0-)
          No, I think you've absolutely nailed it.

          The sense of entitled self importance of some of the info-paranoids that have taken residence down the right side of the screen has lead some of them to do something rhetorically obscene: attempt to usurp the legacy of racism in the United States to prove that they are right and everyone else is wrong. They simply took a current event and crammed it into their own obsession, apparently oblivious to how patently offensive the comparison was.

          Reading those diaries and comments I had many of the same thoughts you did, but they were not as well thought out, nor nearly as charitable.

          The NSA is an important topic, but its importance does forgive the shamefulness of those comparisons.

          Non futuis apud Boston

          by kenlac on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:22:19 PM CST

          Let's start here:
          The sense of entitled self importance of some of the info-paranoids that have taken residence down the right side of the screen has lead some of them to do something rhetorically obscene: attempt to usurp the legacy of racism in the United States to prove that they are right and everyone else is wrong.
          First bold - Let's have your defense of this rhetoric. Please, I'm all eyes and ears.

          Second Bold - If you are not accusing others of racism can you please elaborate what exactly that was intended to express?  And please provide examples of the cases that prompted you to state that? I would be open to considering your explanation with an open mind if there is actually anything resembling what you assert.

          They simply took a current event and crammed it into their own obsession, apparently oblivious to how patently offensive the comparison was.
          With lessons from you, perhaps? Delicious irony, I will grant you that.
          The NSA is an important topic, but its importance does forgive the shamefulness of those comparisons.
          What comparisons?  Links please.

          You make several fantastic and unsupported assertions the question that character of others, paint people with a broad brush and insult them for thinking differently that you.

          Let's have the cases you refer to. Or don't they exist?

  •  Things people a lot of people do these days (7+ / 0-)

    comparing, slapping label on anyone and anything. "History repeats itself" I hear a lot. It's true in a way, but also very different from the olden days. Hyperventilating young people I call them. I'm sure they don't mean any harm, not having lived through the dark days of the civil rights, the Vietnam war, the insults, the beatings. Once you're removed from that reality, I'm talking 50+ years, you can't help but see similarities. But of course they're wrong. It's not similarities at all! It's the same old shit! It never got resolved, it just keeps going and going...

    Same shit, different day!

    "Breathe" it's all we can do and maybe one day that knot in my stomach will be gone.

    El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. The people united will never be defeated

    by mint julep on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:47:12 AM PDT

  •  Others (7+ / 0-)
    Alas, there's a contingent around here who would dismiss Rosa's sage advice out-of-hand since, as a Christian, she represents that superstitious, non-reality-based community I hear folks railing against here on Dkos occasionally. Oh, well.
    Others who could get dismissed in this same manner:

    Martin Luther King
    Jimmy Carter
    George McGovern
    Elizabeth Warren
    Stephen Colbert
    Bill Moyers
    Michael Moore
    Dorothy Day
    Cesar Chavez
    Martin Sheen
    Sr. Helen Prejean
    Anne Lamont
    Jane Fonda
    Johnny Cash
    Fr. Daniel Berrigan
    Fr. John Dear
    Bishop Desmond Tutu
    Nelson Mandela
    Archbishop Oscar Romero
    Bruce Cockburn
    Sr. Dorothy Stang
    John Lewis
    Corretta Scott King
    JK Rowling

    Etc. etc.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:03:30 AM PDT

  •  Yes! (8+ / 0-)

    Guess I done did it right  ...  my Che Guevara tee shirt (that I bought in Cuba) is buried somewhere in my pile of things that have too many memories to throw away and are no longer wearable. It was fun to shock people with it but it doesn't fit anymore, either in size or as an  expression of who I am.

    Some of the self importance is also no longer wearable, maybe it does belong to those who don't/haven't/can't examine themselves. Your post is so wonderful in both examining your life and in being so patient. You certainly are taking Rosa's

    adviceGo easy on them, she said. Maybe they're just young or maybe they're just trying to make a difference in the best way they know how. Let it go, she said.
    and passing it on to us.

    I took yesterday off from here because the rhetoric was over the top and not conducive to thinking so I really appreciate seeing this first thing this morning.

    "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

    by CorinaR on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:04:58 AM PDT

  •  A song you might like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Catte Nappe, dannyboy1

    Sorry about the sound quality but this is the only full free version I could find.  Here's the lyrics:

    Che Guevara T-Shirt

    by Richard Shindell

    Unburdened of their passengers
     The taxis have all scattered
     The hawkers move their tables out
     They'll be selling no more leather
     The Oslo Queen is set to sail
     From the Port of Buenos Aires
     The ropes are thrown and the big horn moans
     As she slips out of the harbor

    The stowaway is keeping still
     In the dark of his container
     With his blanket and his flashlight
     And a picture of his sweetheart
     He's rationing his batteries
     But right now he can't resist her
     Standing there with her long brown hair
     In that Che Guevara t-shirt

    As the contents of his wallet show
     His plan's a little sketchy
     Three hundred bucks and the bad address
     Of a cousin in Miami
     In a couple months with a little luck
     He'll be wiring home some money
     And even if they send him back
     It'll make a damn good story

    Late at night he ventures out
     Each time a little farther
     Emboldened by his wanderlust
     His boredom, and his hunger
     Til he's standing out on the open deck
     Searching for La Cruz del Sur
     But by-and-by the sky he knows
     Has yielded to another

    The moon shines on the shipping lanes
     Off the coast of Venezuela
     And as he looks out at the oilers
     Riding heavy up to Texas
     He sings a little to himself
     Luna, luna, luna llena
     While the moon, a word he's yet to learn,
     Betrays him to the cameras

    Now he's somewhere in Dade County
     And six weeks without a lawyer
     On the basis of the evidence
     They could keep him there forever
     The guy with the cuban accent says
     "Do you recognize this picture?"
     And there she is with her long brown hair
     And that Che Guevara t-shirt

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:57:44 AM PDT

  •  So all of that was in service of ? (0+ / 0-)

    "NSA Surveillance isn't nearly as bad as KKK church-bombing ?"


    Don Quixote WAS a deluded old man, too-much admired by deluded YOUNG men ?  

    Or is it that some time in 2009,  Open Season on Hippies was declared.

  •  Thank you to the Rescue Rangers. (5+ / 0-)

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 01:29:35 PM PDT

  •  You can't purchase rebellion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denver11, dannyboy1, JesseCW

    Although I've seen commercials on TV that would indicate that you can.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:06:13 PM PDT

  •  Love this & I have a lovely yellow/red Che tee. NT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 02:41:37 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I too have wondered at some of those diaries. We are probably of the same age and era as I joined the Army in 1974- actually the WACs.
    But we do need the fire of those who write them- but anger can get you started. It can also get you stuck.

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. Mohandas Gandhi

    by onceasgt on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 03:24:53 PM PDT

  •  You're probably too young to have gone through (11+ / 0-)

    ...this but in the 1960s a whole bunch of us well-scrubbed middle-class white high school and college students (is that a disqualification in identity politics land?) were stunned by early histories of the Nazi period in Germany, which we did not live through and had no personal experience of.  The first was William Shirer's classic The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  At that point we had our image of the morally depraved sheeplike German people devastated by postwar reparations and foolish economic policies and duped into following Hitler impressions from growing up the 1950s confirmed.  

    As the Civil Rights movement began, it challenged our cozy and comfortable segregated Southern world and its familiar patterns.  After all, why did Jackie Robinson, the Dodger hero for so many of us (when it wasn't Duke Snider), have to go make a fuss with his stunt of wanting to be served in the restaurant at the municipal airport?  And what is so great about having US marshals have to escort you around at the University of Mississippi.  Why are they talking about "freedom"?  This is America, the land of the free?  

    What we did not understand in our sheltered existence was the open secrets of Southern life.  The South was an apartheid system that maintained itself through legal restraint, agressive policing (even of white adult opinion), and generational applications of terror administered through "disreputable" groups like the Ku Klux Klan.  And that the rest of the country had been up to that point very cool with that system, which is why the national media never exposed our open secret.  Except when it wanted a lurid story to build profits.  The nature of the system was unstated by adults as well.  There was a strong layer of mystification and rationalization and defensiveness about the nature of Southern society that contributed to its preservation when left alone.

    By the time that Martin Luther King was held in a Birmingham jail, the trial of Adolph Eichmann in Jerusalem had concluded, and not long after folks were reading Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, from which the phrase "banality of evil" came.  We were becoming aware that the curtain of dictatorship in Nazi Germany did not come down with a sudden crackdown.  All along until the door was locked, the German people thought they were free.   Toward the middle of the 1960s, Milton Mayer's The Germans, 1933-1945 was reissued and used in college history classes along with Eugene Kogon's The Theory and Practice of Hell.  The topic of how people could know they were moving toward a dictatorship became one that much discussed, primarily because of all of the Cold War propaganda about looking out for creeping communism.  It is still a relevant issue.  How does one tell?

    How does one tell the difference between when one is making reference to understanding historical lessons and when one is claiming some identity and acting out the role of the 1848 revolutionary at the barricaades (Les Mis, for example) or Che on his motorcycle or Abbie Hoffman in Chicago?  For we know by its collapse in the 1970s that a lot of the movement of the 1960s was just marketed as another piece of youth culture, without taking the the critical looks at racism, war, sexism, the environment seriously.

    What folks who have watched government as long as I have have discovered is that institutions outlive and can defeat individual politicians and even parties in power.  By far the clearest example of that ouside of the military industrial complex is the Environmental Protection Agency, which survived 8 years of George W. Bush and has begun issuing regulations to control greenhouse gases.

    Which brings me to the organization now called the National Security Agency, which was created out of some World War II bureaucratic detritus in 1945 by Harry Truman and first given the mission to monitor overseas telegraph traffic.  In secret, the NSA did this for 40 years without anyone letting on about its existence, even any allies or enemies who caught on.  When there were breaches, such as in 1960 and 1963, Congress hid its existence and covered up the breaches.  In 1970, Christopher Pyle exposed the fact that Army Intelligence personnel (1500 of them) were watching every demonstration against the war of 20 or more people throughout the US, that the FBI was using authorization under the "mailcovers" metadata (though that word was not used for it then) program to without a warrant open mail.  And that CIA personnel were doing this without the knowledge of USPS officials.  The abuses were serious enough to cause the creation of the Church Committee to investigate them.  The result was a compromise called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the creation of a FISA court to approve warrants for surveillance by the NSA, FBI, and other agencies to ensure the foreign intelligence capability was not turned on American citizens.  That court as a mechanism did not do what it was intended to do.

    Since the 1980s, more and more information has come out of the National Archives that shows that the events that caused worry back then were not anomalies.  J. Edgar Hoover and the FBi were not the only ones surveilling all sort of people active in politics.  And that's where the issue is--people active in politics, even established elected officials, being under surveillance.  And the use of leaks from intelligence services to damage reputations.  Read the reports about the the accused misdeeds of the civil rights leadership to understand how this can be used to manipulate politics.

    The civil rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without discrimination are no less important a fight today because we are having to fight for the preservation of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly (check out Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas on those), freedom not to be arbitrarily stopped and frisked without probable cause, freedom not to have the door of our home busted down or our computer compromised with surveillance malware without a warrant, freedom not to have our papers or computer data seized from where ever they are being kept by a third-party custodian without a warrant, freedom not to be swept up in a dragnet as computer collection or to be pre-emptively identified without a specific warrant stating probable cause, right to vote unimpeded, right to have our vote counted faithfully--all of those are equally important to folks who are politically active.

    Knowing you are being watched encourages you to watched what you say until you are comfortable with the range of acceptable opionion.   When that range becomes narrow, or when the consequences can mean warrantless detention without due process, as came to be the case in East Germany administered with the STASI, or warrantless detention after show trials like most historical dictatorships, people narrow their conversations or begin to speak in private codes.  Neither is adequate political conversation and neither bespeaks a democracy.

    America markets freedom, but delivers a cockeyed form of it.  America markets revolution but delivers tighter corproate oligarchies.  That why America has more Che T-shirts than revolutions.

    For a good accounting of the parallel movement to the civil rights movement, see James Carroll, House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:16:53 PM PDT

  •  Just listening to 'Ohio' by Neil Young (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyboy1, historys mysteries

    and came across this gem of yours, Dannyboy.  Thanks for the post/diary.   Had a Che poster, now I got to find a T-shirt just to piss off the Republicans and 'Independents' I have coffee with every day.   I was drafted and as best I can tell I missed Nam by being able to type and always selecting 'read a book' over the other options in the aptitude test.
    I'll try to put a link here to 'Ohio', but if it fails it is an easy Youtube find

    The core of the Daily Kos behavior guide is simple: don't be a dick.~Kos

    by theBreeze on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:37:25 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, theBreeze, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      one of my favorite songs (had a 45 rpm when it came out) and can hear it in my head as soon as you mention it. And honestly, if I could have "hair, long as you can grow it," I'd do that too...d

      I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

      by dannyboy1 on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 09:47:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WHo are the far right rescue rangers (0+ / 0-)

    who thinks this needs "promoting"?

    You guys should tag your names to what you promote.

    1) Bomb Syria 2)???????????? 3) Lives saved!!!!!!

    by JesseCW on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:15:08 PM PDT

  •  $52.6 Billion for the NSA, CIA & Co. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Truedelphi, samanthab

    But no money for education and school lunches that serve minorities.

    And you accuse of being faux liberals?

    No, I'm afraid I have to return the favor and question your liberal credentials.

    •  Plus I have read this article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      by Dannyboy1 several times, and I think he doesn't write all that clearly. I am also afraid that much of his meaning is that the Totalitarian Surveillance State is not a monster because

      one: way way back when, a "protest" action he took was self indulgent

      and two: black people get killed just for living and breathing, and so far he doesn't see the connection to how  everyone on earth now is starting to realize that living and breathing can be a crime if you live inside a third world nation where our drones are targeting folks.

      He also seems clearly ignorant of how many people here in the USA are putting their lives and personal freedom on the line for the sake of protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline, Fracking, and our war policies. Maybe he should spend some time on various websites that the anti-war Syracuse New York crowd puts up. Or maybe he should be reading up on how Harry Belafonte, who probably would love to retire from activism, at his age, sees a nation of imprisoned and shackled five years olds as an abomination.

      No one in our era will ever know the suffering of freed slaves or free black men and women of the Eighteen Hundreds. Hell, we probably couldn't even survive if put in a time capsule and thrown back into the home and lifestyle of a privileged white family during that era. No Gameboys or X boxes, no indoor plumbing, no phones, or Air Conditioning, etc. And if you got pneumonia or TB, you were going to die, as there weren't any antibiotics. P)lus goddess help you if you are a woman!

      But dismissing the work of the activists of 2013 simply because they won't ever know the "real hardships" of a Frederick Douglas  is more than a tiny bit illogical.

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 01:08:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate his desire to add complexity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to the discussion, but, to my mind, it's a bit naive to assume that the NSA will apply its abuses equitably instead of continuing the security  state's tradition of singling out marginalized communities. I dunno. I didn't see the diaries being referred to, but I find it unlikely that the NSA is some sort of Robin Hood, abusing power to give power to the marginalized. Any organization dedicated to maintaining power is, by definition, dedicated to maintaining marginalization.

  •  as far as people facing death for just being - (0+ / 0-)

    I assure you a trillion dollar military is built to kill people.

    drones are a cost effective way of generating enough new terrorists that calls to cut military spending will fail.

    by just want to comment on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 02:15:39 PM PDT

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