Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to say that a single teaspoon of sea water can give you the taste of the ocean. This morning, I had a taste of a teaspoon of what I would call creeping Fascism, and I would like to share this experience with you.
My wife has a business which requires her to go and see people at their homes. I drive her to the needed address and wait in the car for her to come back out. This morning we made one of those home visits in a very typical middle-class neighborhood. As always, my wife entered the house and I stayed in the car, pulled out my Nexus 7 (2013) and connected to the Internet.
After a while I did notice that two of the neighbors gave me a weird look, but passed by and said nothing. Then a guy came out of his house and asked me what I was doing here. I replied that I was relaxing and reading. That did not please him and he wanted to know exactly what I was doing on "his street". I replied that "his" street was public and that I was minding my business. He told me that the "entire neighborhood" was concerned about my presence and that I better tell them what I was doing here (I later learned that it was true - most of the neighbors were "texting" each other to, I suppose, "coordinate a response" to the "unfolding crisis" or possible "threat" to their well-being). I was really baffled and I asked the guy whether he seriously believed that I was preparing a terrorist attack or dealing drugs and what made them so afraid. His reply was "we don't know you and we protect each other". I told him that something must be wrong with them to be so paranoid, at which point he left with this special self-righteous dumb look any kindergartner has when he goes to complain to the teacher.
Sure enough, a cop car soon showed up, cop came out and asked me what I was doing here. I gave him the same reply, - relaxing, reading and minding my business. I asked him whether I had done anything wrong or broken any law, to which he said that no, but that I was "suspicious". When I asked him how I was "suspicious" he told me that the neighbors had complained about me sitting in my car. I then asked him whether that made me suspicious in his eyes and he said that yes, it did. He then ordered me to identify myself which I did and explained what I was doing here. He said "okay" and left turned his car around and checked my license plate. Then a 2nd cop car came, and they both stayed until my wife came out and we left.
Now some (most?) of you might think that this is no big deal or that I could have explained my reasons to be here to the neighbor who came out. Maybe. To each his own. We all have different characters, different educations, different life experiences and different values. And maybe to some (most) people, this all is a non-event.
Not for me, sorry.
To me, this is disgusting, especially in a country which fancies itself the epitome of democracy, human right and all that kind of crap.
Truthfully, I have nothing against neighbors looking out for each other, I actually find that beautiful, but in this case I was not doing anything which could have caused the alarm. It was Sunday morning, 10:30AM, I was sitting reading in a van with all windows down enjoying the morning sunshine. That's it. I was not waving a Kalashnikov, or dealing small bags of white powder, was not even listening to any "suspicious" music or even getting out to stretch my legs. I was just there doing nothing.
My wife thinks that I scare the local people for being 6"3, 255lbs and with a beard. Oh, and I drive a van. I am told that this combination makes me really really really scary.
Still, I think that my physical appearance and choice of vehicle cannot be considered as a legitimate reason for a man I have never seen come out into a public space and demand that I explain to him what I am doing on a public road. At least not in the supposed "land of the free and the home of the brave". If it is the land of the free, then I should be free to mind my business also, and if it is the land of the brave, then an entire neighborhood should find in itself the courage to live for about 45 min with a parked van and with a scary-looking dude inside without calling the cops. But clearly, in the land of the free and the home of the brave this was the neighborhood of the enslaved cowards...
I also resent cops ordering me to identify myself just because *somebody else* considers me as suspicious. If neighborhood is paranoid, does it mean that a trained officer has to act on it and also act in a paranoid way. I keep wondering - did that stupid cop really think I was a danger to somebody?
It deeply saddens me that these putatively "brave" people and these cops don't seem to care one bit about privacy or about the civil rights which their own military "defends" (or so they think) in remote places of the earth like Afghanistan, the Philippines or Latin America when at home an entire society is taught how to fear and to mindlessly obey any order they are given.
Americans, the vast majority, are terrified, they don't even know why or of what, but they are terrified. Hence the rent-a-cops everywhere.
In Florida, you will see old geezers who can barely walk in uniforms everywhere: libraries, malls, department stores, hospitals - everywhere. And since they are completely useless, they spend their time trying to do *something* and they end up harassing kids or telling people not to speak too loud.
The USA has turned into a kindergarten where everybody is afraid of everybody, everybody calls the cops out of sheer panic of "something" and were everybody is guilty until proven innocent. And uniforms everywhere. These rent-a-cops belong to organizations like "Internal Intelligence" or "American Security" and they have fancy cop-like uniforms, but they are also totally *useless*: the bad guys don't care about them, and the good guys are constantly harassed.
But the worst is not that. The worst is in the mind of people: they have accepted all this as normal and inevitable, they have embraced, whether consciously or not, the kind of creeping Fascism which permeates all of US society, on the streets and in the minds of the people.
People have accepted that we have to act like door-mats by identifying ourselves as soon as told to do so, we have to strip as soon as told so, we have to obey, move, stop, assemble, disperse, move left, move right and always always submit to any order given to us. And all that in the name of security.
And if we question any of that - then we are "argumentative", "hostile" or otherwise "uncooperative".
So what if I don't want to "cooperate"? Is that really a sin? Does that make me bad? Was I supposed to be born with a natural sense of love for the police?!
Actually, many (most?) people would say that yes. That I am wrong. Here is how their logic goes:
"You could have "defused the situation" be explaining to the neighbor what you were doing. He was only doing his "civic duty" after all. You have to learn how to live in this society".
Well, guess what? I don't want to cooperate! I don't want to "defuse" a situation which I have not created to begin with! If my mere physical presence creates a "situation" which requires "defusing" on my part then, yes, that is a form of "discrimination" and "violation of my civil rights" (to use the stupid lingo of these so-called "democrats"). I don't accept that I have a duty to comply with the paranoid arrogance of cowardly assholes just because they happen to be in the majority. I despise the kind of human plankton which spends its life acting like prey, which submits to evil and stupidity and which has no real sense of dignity of freedom.
Call me unreasonable if you want. I don't want to be reasonable in a society gone insane. If this society is sane, and I am not, then let me embrace my insanity!
I have spent my entire life hearing hundreds of people lecturing me about freedom, human rights, civil right, political rights, freedom of choice, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, etc. etc. etc. It's all "freedom and rights" in their mouths. But in their daily lives, its all about submission, submission and more submission.
It makes me sick.
No wonder so many people drink, use drugs, stupidify themselves in front of flickering screens, suffer from bulimia/anorexia or various phobias. No wonder so many people are sexually dysfunctional in one way or another, aggressive, depressed or delusional. And, finally, it is no wonder at all that so many people have no sense of self-worth, of dignity, of their minimal right to be left alone when they bother no one. The powers that be have given us a real slave mentality and anybody not acting like a slave is immediately singled out as a troublemaker or some psycho suffering from ODD (opposition defiant disorder).
Please get me right - I was born in a country where you have to carry your government issued ID 24/7 and where any cop can ask you for your ID and business without any reason at all. And I have lived under all sorts of authoritarian regimes, including Latin American and Asian dictatorships. I know that in comparison the USA is much better - at least here a majority of cops is more or less honest. But what is so unbearable to me is not that the US cops can act like bullies, but that they do that in a society which still seriously believes that it is "land of the free and the home of the brave". In all the other dictatorships I have visited everybody was fully aware that there was no freedom, no democracy, and that might made right. Except in the USA. Here the slaves actually believe that they are free.
At least Blacks in the USA do know. If having a beard singles me out as a "suspicious" individual, just image what a Black guy looks like in a White neighborhood. They get that kind of crap day after day, every day. I heard that from my African friends who lived in the USA (who are very candid about it) and from local Blacks (who are usually very reluctant to talk about that). Yes, Black here know that 1) White people fear them and 2) cops are their enemies. And having Obama sit in the White House did nothing to change that. But Blacks are the exception - the rest of the country still pretends like everything is just nice and cozy.
That the rest of the country seems to be sleepwalking in some kind of stupor which prevents them from seeing how a "cultural Fascism" is rapidly taking over their minds and lifestyles. From the Sheriff deputies the kids see every day in their schools to ubiquitous rent-a-cops everywhere, to the constant sound of police vehicles constantly stopping drivers - Americans are living under constant monitoring, fear and a wholesale dissolution of their civil rights.
I feel like the only non-smoker in a room full of smokers. I tell them that the room stinks, that there is blue smoke everywhere, that the air is foul and that I cannot breathe. And they all tell me that no, there is nothing wrong with the room, the air is fresh and clean and that I am over-reacting.
So what do I do? Shall I wait enough time until my nose gets desensitized to the disgusting stench around me? Shall I pretend like I enjoy the nauseating stench just in order to be "like everybody else"?
Or shall I remain true to myself and say that the air stinks?