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The Dominoes Fall

One by one the dominoes fall, each makes a small clicking sound as it tumbles into its neighbor and then settles on the ground, metronomic in nature these days, like clockwork. Individually they seem meaningless. Individually they make little noise. And yet, when those single dominoes represent rights and freedoms that are supposed to be sacrosanct here in the "land of the free and the home of the brave," it should be screams that we hear with each domino that falls, loud and grating like fingernails on a chalkboard. These are, after all, everything our constitution is supposed to protect.

It isn’t just Heir Drumpf that we need be concerned about in this era of redefining freedom and doublespeak language that sounds as though it has come straight out of "1984". He is only executing the plans he told us he would—building walls, literal and figurative, excluding vast numbers of our brothers and sisters, catering to the corporate behemoths, including now Big Pharma. We knew he would take drastic actions on all kinds of issues. He made that clear during his campaign to become president. We knew would lie to us, as well. He’s lied daily for the last twelve months on a national stage and he still won the election (but not the popular vote, in spite of his continued lies regarding that). We know the man in the gold tower with his name on it. His actions since taking office are right in line with who he is.

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think,”
Adolf Hitler

What we didn’t know—or weren’t paying close enough attention to—were those among us, our neighbors, in positions of authority, some minor and some more important, who were more lost than Der Furher. Maybe not more lost, but at least as much lost as the Giant Angry Orange with the overly long ties.

What neighbors? Start in my backyard with Denver Police Commander Tony Lopez. To be a policeman most of us would assume that the person has some degree of understanding of the law and the constitution. Their duty, after all, is to uphold the law and help protect the rights given to each of us under the constitution. That isn’t true here in Denver, and maybe not anywhere at this point. At Denver International Airport yesterday a group of 200 people were protesting the Angry Orange’s banning of all visitors from certain Muslim countries from entering the United States. Police Commander Lopez said to the protesters, “Stop doing anything that could be construed as free speech without a permit.”

I shouldn’t need to point out that anything requiring a permit—whether freely issued or not—is not free. Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstone principles of any democracy. To even think that it is ok to contain it or to require a permit to exercise it is to have already lost the game.

At one point someone asked Officer Lopez, “I cannot carry the Constitution without a permit?”

“Correct,” Lopez replied.

The point is this: the dominoes are falling. They have been falling for years. Those freedoms and rights that we claim to prize here are disappearing. Poof. Gone with the wind.

The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it

One by one we’ve lost bits of our freedom because many of us are living in fear—fear of terrorists, fear of the government, fear of the Mexicans who are “bringing drugs, crime and are rapists” (at least according to the Angry Orange). Fear of anything other, that’s what we are suffering from. And we’ve traded a lot of our freedoms for some ridiculous notions of what will keep us safe. Don't believe me about the freedoms we’ve lost. The Patriot Act is still in force and you can download and read it for yourself. It isn’t just Trump that has been peddling fear. We have a long history of subscribing to it. The new president is just the tip of the spear, the fine point that we have been honing for years.

Our job as Americans and as Republicans is to dislodge the traitors from every place where they've been sent to do their traitorous work.”
Joseph McCarthy

We’ve spent so much time believing we are under attack and cowering under tables and behind rocks that many of us forget that nearly all of the terrorist acts in this country for the last 15 years have been homegrown, our own religious zealots and crazies turning against us. We believe a strongman can come in and chase the bogeyman from under our beds and make us safe again. So we surrender freedoms and rights. As long as we aren’t the target we don’t worry. As long as the focus is on the other we rest easy.

Until we don’t.

The other still includes those close to us, whether we like to admit it or not. Eventually, this battle for freedom and rights will touch us all and then we will know it's too late. The transgenders and homosexuals—they are the other. The religions that aren't Christian, and let's make certain to include atheists in that group, the other. The other includes abortionists and the poor, too. And, of course, the other includes women, those deluded souls who think they have the right to make the same amount of money as a man just because they have equal experience, training and education.

Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity.”
Joseph McCarthy

Freedom, rights—we humans have never made them easy things to ensure or uphold. We like to think that as Americans they matter. But for them to matter each and every one of us has to be their guardian. Each of us has to take a stand against even the slightest bit of tyranny. That means in our own neighborhoods as well as in the White House. Otherwise, we witness a long slow erosion that seems trivial and meaningless in our daily lives, until, over time, it isn't and we find ourselves suddenly labeled the other.

McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled.”
Joseph McCarthy

The dominoes fall and with each passing day we look more and more like the "land of the fearful and the home of the naive," all apologies to Francis Scott Key. We now build walls to protect our freedom and to keep the other out. One day, hopefully before the last domino falls, we will realize that there is no one taking away our rights. There is no one taking away our freedom. There is only us giving them away.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."
from 1984 by George Orwell

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