Saturday, March 11, 2017

Early Impact

A woman who is afraid the Republican healthcare plan will mean her death, literally. A young man who says his father and brother were deported, and promptly murdered.  Another woman who is plagued by nightmares about the regime in the White House.  These aren't news stories.  They are people nearby.  There are many such stories.

As the assault continues, many feel like this woman and her father in the 1998 film Deep Impact, standing on a beach waiting to be swept away by a gigantic tidal wave.

The feeling is real and widespread, even if particular catastrophes may not be so imminent.  The Republican healthcare bill, opposed by major medical and medical insurance organizations as well as most of the nation's governors, is unlikely to become law, despite the brazenly irresponsible action of GOP House committees to speed through approval without even waiting for the plan to be costed out, let alone carefully analyzed and debated.  And environmental catastrophe due to EPA absence or negligence can come at any time, but the worst consequences are pushed off to the future, when it will be too late to stop them.

But it is the tidal wave of horrors every day that is so overwhelming, and the feeling that while certain groups and individuals are in imminent danger, a larger totalitarian regime is building.

If anyone thought previous posts here were alarmist, they will find even deeper and more elaborated alarm in Mark Danner's lead piece in the latest New York Review of Books issue.  He notes something that others intuit, if only in their waking or sleeping nightmares:

"Ours is famously said to be a government of laws, not of men, and yet we find in the Age of Trump that the laws depend on men and women willing to step forward and press them and that such are not to be found in the dominant party in Congress."

Ignoring Homegrown Hitler's lawlessness and recklessness now only emboldens him.  Danner suggests in slightly more detail what I have in brief-- that any real or imagined terrorist attack or aggression by, say, North Korea (though of course not Russia) could well become the pretext for a truly totalitarian state, using all the new technologies of surveillance and control.

At the moment he does not have the loyalty of the military, intelligence agencies or most of the federal police--though that could change in a flash of media imagery and bombast.  But as I suspected he apparently does have the immigration police, so failing a violent excuse, he will exercise his power there.  Besides, it's early yet.

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