“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

The words of Pastor Martin Niemöller have been so apt for the past seven years that they must seem clichéd to anyone with a brain and a working conscience who’s been paying attention to events in and of the U.S. Maybe that’s the goal of the Bush administration and their various clients and masters: if they keep dialing up the volume and frequency of atrocities at every possible level, maybe people of intellect and conscience will die of outrage fatigue; there will then be no one left to oppose the ongoing creation of a right-wing, reactionary, and feudal shithole.

But seriously, folks, I don’t bother with hope anymore. Faced with what we as a nation have allowed (in its most concentrated form with the Bushies, but by no means beginning with them) of late, the only useful reactions now are anger and guilt. How far down does our government have to reach before we rise up and demand better behavior? I expected that as the price of a gallon of gasoline crept closer to five dollars, there would be some serious grumbling from the hoi polloi. I was wrong. Apparently, the U.S. public is so snugly ensconced in its consumerist cocoon that it will refuse to resist the machinations of its corporate-state Daddy until the last possible moment.

But of what will that moment consist? If rising fuel and food prices aren’t enough to wake us from the self-centered, nihilistic depths of our suburban sprawl-induced narcotic slumber, am I wrong to surmise that visible– even grandstanding– assaults on the threadbare vestiges of our erstwhile republic’s moral fiber will not elicit so much as a stir? Perhaps not.

Case in point, from Dave Neiwert. Think what you will about the ‘illegals,’ but you can’t deny their humanity. And you are a fool if you think that a government that will do this today to them will not choose a moment of stress or crisis somewhere in the near future to exercise this treatment upon us. At that time, remember that I told you so, and remember that you and I earned our abominable treatment when we stood by silently (though some were cheering) while our fellow human beings were treated like vermin by the government that was of, by, and for us.

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