I returned from an evening with Ali and my daughter in Kuala Lumpur just before Obama’s inauguration. I was too tired to bother: it’ll be rebroadcast and all over the Internet and his inaugural will be everywhere to read. I don’t expect anything from man but pabulum to make people feel better, make people believe that something new and wonderful is happening when, in fact, it’ll be just more of the same. Look at his cabinet! Old guard but for FCC chairman–and that should be a clue to something nefarious in the future. But. . .
I spent the night, after my stomach settled, worrying over the massive military presence at the inauguration: CNN proudly announced 11,500 soldiers, some of whom would be in the parade. 100? The remaining “most” were obviously going to be engaged in peace-keeping activities, supplementing various civilian police forces, the FBI and the Secret Service with their crack team of snipers on the surrounding rooftops. Olympic level sharpshooters who can hit a target from afar. But. . .what good are they against an assassin in a crowd? They cannot stop the killer before he strikes and, after, they cannot trace him and target him in the crowd. But they can nail a few spectators. . .or someone on the Presidential platform.
Nothing happened. There was no outcry from the amassed students, activists, newspeople, etc. No shoes were thrown at George Bush. No potshots at the uppity nigger. No fireworks. But people did go a little nuts afterwards. How disappointed they’re going to be later on. Wall Street PR men had Obama sign two pieces of legislature that sent people swooning: signing is one thing, implementing is another. All for show. All to assuage the churning masses. For the social good? Perhaps but where’s the help with aid and health care? Oh! The economy comes first, yes, the good of the businesses and businessmen–not if people are dead or dying for want of social programs. . .because no people equals no market, no money, no business. Duh! “Duh” for Obama and his handlers, “Duh” for my disingenuous countrymen.
But what were snipers there for? Snipers don’t target crowds. Snipers target lone gunmen. To target a particular shooter in a mass of people, these snipers–working in pairs–would have to know, in advance, who he was and where he would be. Paranoid over-reaction? Certainly a useless gesture. Feel safer? Feel safer they could do nothing to protect the President. . .and could start a bloodbath (to prove they were needed)? And. . .where is it I’ve heard of snipers working in pairs. . .it didn’t have anything to do with assassination and then a dead assassin, did it?
The inordinate amount of time CNN spent on these elite para-military killers, seemingly just shy of supermen, was, in reality, a magician’s misdirection: focus on Secret Service protection and never again mention the 11,500 crack military troops illegally engaged in peace-keeping. Don’t think of this, America. Don’t think of military-backed regimes. Police states. Martial law. Dictatorships. 11,500 military personnel to supplement thousands of other police just looking for trouble. Think crowd control, not protection. Crowd control. You can bet those 3,000 Fallujah-
flattening Iraqi war heroes were there, the ones first stationed on American soil to combat–err. . .uphold the law. (Don’t heroes save people from hell and destruction?) You can be sure, too, that these 11,500 Army troops were not packing non-lethal weaponry.
You can just imagine how effective they would be in targeting and taking out one lone individual amidst hundreds of thousands (Al Jazeera says millions) of people. . . how about as successful as they were in Iraq? They flattened an entire town twice in search of a few freedom fighters, killing women, children, oldsters, wounded, doctors, emergency personnel–you name it: if it moved it was dead. Other towns, hospitals, weddings, media journalists were then targeted, yet. . .they’ve not won after seven years! So. . .
Hmm. . .very effective measures in frightening people at the least. Very effective in show-casing their barbarity, their total lack of respect for humanity. How utterly heroic! A massive Kent State with, of course, massive human error.
Do not pay attention, America, to the illegality of this military presence of 11,500 fighting-ready, tested and true men. Forget, too, that democratic governments don’t have or need a military presence to maintain its viability, its validity, its electoral processes. It’s of no consequence that elections are also held in dictatorships (same guy/party wins, hands down), tyrannies, mono-maniacal police states.
The military guns are aimed at the people, not some unknown, invisible threat.
The military are trained killers: that’s their job. The military are trained fright- nighters: that’s their job. The military are trained to insure obedience: that’s their job. To do or you die.
CNN made sure you would not question; it spoke of other legal shootists. Hmm. . .if we have Olympic level marksmen, why don’t we win the gold time and time again?
Why is the power structure, the military-industrial complex afraid of you?
Next, you will be told that everything went off without a hitch because the military was there. That surveillance cameras, undercover agents, specially trained snipers and 11,500 crack Army troops fresh from the killing fieldes made sure that your government was protected, your liberty assured, your country free. Free from what?
Guns and bombs. . .what if an assassin used a curare-tipped dart blown silently out of a tube looking like a cigarette held to his lips? High-tech becomes more and more intricate and sophisticated. . .and utterly forgetful of low-tech.
Assassins, terrorists, don’t care about survival once the target’s been hit. They do not care how many others go down with them, how many innocents. A hit man in a crowd of thousands. Yeah. With the Army and the Secret Service ready and waiting to open fire on anything that moves. I’d bet on the assassin’s escape and a massacre of the gathered populace that will then be blamed on the bad guy-terrorist. That’ll show you!
But. . .nothing happened.
But. . .there’s always the possibility (or a first time).
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep (Crosby, Stills, Nash)
Or. . .there will be no mention post inaugural of the good-will and support of the people. After all, they’re just a personality-less mindless mass. What do they know? They can be led around by their noses.
By the time the people of the US wake up to their martial law, it will be too late; they will be acclimatized to it, accept it as right and just. The few who don’t will be underground frightened to death for their safety, expatriates or dead. Any outré press that still operates will be a sell-out, present only for looks.
Toni Morrison sees a world government. I’m not so sure. I just see a martial law type of fascist America, fitting in with the rest of the world–especially Mgabe’s world. I see that, on the other side of the world, as if suffering from quantum mechanics’ Non-Locale Principle, China slowly, slowly opening up. Slowly, very slowly, as is their wont. Via the massive winter of natural disasters (I covered the snows at www.counterpunch.org, though the direction is wrong: I’m east, not west), the government is beginning to pay attention to its people. New programs have been initiated to help the farmers and the migrant workers, medical insurance extras for the elderly (over 60, though retirement is 50 for women, 55 for men). I wrote about this kind of support in order to weather the upcoming massive world depression–but in Chinese (www.bokee.com, shikejian’s blog).
I don’t think the constriction and downfall of America and liberty is the end of the world. America and all it stood for is not the entire world or the answer to the world’s problems. . .evidently. But Amero-Eurocentrism discounts anything in the East in its racism.
I think there must be something horribly wrong with me: I bitch and complain bitterly about society and government and yet here I am being optimistic.
And all of my satires for theatre are now passé. Aiyeee!–I’m a loss at being an artist!
James L. Secor is a retired professor, a writer-playwright living out on the edge of the Gobi Desert where the skies are clear, the air fresh and the water possibly the only non-polluted water in the country: mountain run-off from the year-round snow-capped Qilian Range, which he can see from his front patio. He can be reached at email@example.com any time night or day.