Gore Vidal on the Gates arrest

Vidal characteristically believes the arrest to be significant. He wrote:

For those of us who had hoped that the Obama administration would present us with a rebirth of the old republic that was so rudely erased a few years ago by that team of judicial wreckers, Bush and Gonzales, which led, in turn, to a recent incident in Cambridge, Mass. that inspired a degree of alarm in many Americans. But what was most alarming was the plain fact that neither the president nor a "stupid" local policeman seemed to understand the rules of behavior in a new America, where we find ourselves marooned as well as guarded (is that the verb?) by armed police who have been instructed that they are indeed, once armed, the law and may not be criticized verbally or in any other way and are certainly not subject to any restrictions as to whom they arrest or otherwise torment.

This is rather worse than anyone might have predicted, even though the signs have been clear for some years that ours is now a proto-fascist nation and there appears to be no turning back; nor, indeed, much awareness on the part of our ever-alert media.

I have one nit to pick: Vidal's "ever-alert media" may well be aware of the authoritarian turn that has undermined the republic; but it is also likely the media as a whole supports the direction the country has taken. I say this because the only crimes the media refuses to cover in depth — read: sensationalize and turn into a spectacle — are those transgressions against civilization, the rule of law and good sense committed by Washington's insiders. The blame falls not just on Fox News, the New York Post, The Washington Times, etc. The fact that the media has this conformist attitude — this professional ethos which compels it to serve the American system as it exists — along with the related fact that the media's affliction is chronic, provides one explanation for the following:

Let us accept the facts staring us in the face — that demonstrably we are no longer a republic. We are no longer governed by laws, only by armed men and force. This is just like the days of Billy the Kid. You have an armed man going down a dusty street and that is authority. And it has come to this for us.

Knowing about this corruption, the depth of its roots and the effect it has had on America's political culture, a reasonable person would not then find it surprising at all that NORTHCOM has developed a plan to provide aid to the nation in the near-term if the United States were to suffer a swine flu pandemic, a program that would be consistent with the now common violations of the Posse Comitatus Act. Why would this hypothetical person find NORTHCOM's plans surprising when the mere fact that NORTHCOM exists is an affront to the rule of law? Surely NORTHCOM is not meant to protect the homeland from an external threat?

Anyway, I suppose it is extravagant to want the nation's public health institutions to implement a response to the latest pandemic…. After all, America's public health institutions lack the firepower, the boots on the ground and the prison facilities such a mission would require if it is to succeed….

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