It needs to be noted right off the bat that John Whitehead isn’t exactly a weepy, bleeding-heart, race-baiting liberal whiner. It was after all his Rutherford Institutethat provided legal assistance to Paula Jones in her lawsuit against the sexual depravity of former president Bill Clinton. The man has serious gravitas as a conservative so when he comes out with a blistering critique of the militarized police state it merits paying attention. With the typical divisiveness arising out of the events in Ferguson, Missouri splitting the country into warring factions yet again, Whitehead hits the target on the most important of all issues. The transformation of America into a nascent totalitarian police state.
Mr. Whitehead has for years been writing of the dangers of incipient American fascism and smacks it out of the ballpark in his latest piece entitled “Turning America Into a War Zone, Where ‘We the People’ Are the Enemy” in which he writes:
What Americans must understand, what we have chosen to ignore, what we have fearfully turned a blind eye to lest the reality prove too jarring is the fact that we no longer live in the “city on the hill,” a beacon of freedom for all the world.
Far from being a shining example of democracy at work, we have become a lesson for the world in how quickly freedom turns to tyranny, how slippery the slope by which a once-freedom-loving people can be branded, shackled and fooled into believing that their prisons walls are, in fact, for their own protection.
Having spent more than half a century exporting war to foreign lands, profiting from war, and creating a national economy seemingly dependent on the spoils of war, we failed to protest when the war hawks turned their profit-driven appetites on us, bringing home the spoils of war—the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.—to be distributed for free to local police agencies and used to secure the homeland against “we the people.”
It’s not just the Defense Department that is passing out free military equipment to local police. Since the early 1990s, the Justice Department has worked with the Pentagon to fund military technology for police departments. And then there are the billions of dollars’ worth of federal grants distributed by the Department of Homeland Security, enabling police departments to go on a veritable buying spree for highly questionable military-grade supplies better suited to the battlefield.
Is it any wonder that we now find ourselves in the midst of a war zone?
We live in a state of undeclared martial law. We have become the enemy.
In a war zone, there are no police—only soldiers. Thus, there is no more Posse Comitatus prohibiting the government from using the military in a law enforcement capacity. Not when the local police have, for all intents and purposes, already become the military.
In a war zone, the soldiers shoot to kill, as American police have now been trained to do. Whether the perceived “threat” is armed or unarmed no longer matters when police are authorized to shoot first and ask questions later.
Interestingly and very ominously, the divisiveness over the shooting of the unarmed teenage thug Michael Brown and the overwhelming response of militarized police to protests are not only splitting into the standard black versus white. We are increasingly seeing a division between those who find it acceptable and actually preferential to live under the red, white and blue jackboot of apple pie authoritarianism and those who are finally, like John Whitehead, saying that enough is enough.
The Whitehead piece riffs off of an article gone viral, written by a Los Angeles police veteran named Sunil Dutta who has now become the poster boy for the American police state. In the piece, Dutta proclaims that “If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.”It is the ultimate declaration of the blue supremacy that has metastasized through American law-enforcement like a cancer. Dutta’s declaration of police godhood ran in the Washington Post and is entitled “I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.”
The piece has drawn both deserved condemnation as well as praise from those who have a skewed idea of what it is to live in a free country with a system of legal checks and balances. No matter how much that the U.S. Constitution has been gutted by Clinton, Bush and Obama it is still the only document that truly matters if we are to still live in that shining city on the hill as President Ronald Reagan liked to refer to America.
More terrifying than the militarized police and the “undeclared state of martial law” that Rutherford refers to is that so many are lining up in lockstep unity behind the government goon squads. There will always be those who support the hard-liners, skull-crackers, knuckle-draggers and whichever alpha male politician emerges from the pack to lead them. There is a certain percentage of those who are prone to authoritarianism in every society. These types have been chronicled in many a work including Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” of which President Dwight D. Eisenhower reportedly was a fan. Ike truly understood the dangers of fascism from a real first hand perspective as the Supreme Commander of the American forces that defeated the Nazis. He also understood the menace of the Military Industrial Complex which he famously warned of in his farewell address – the American police state is the bastard child of this.
The true believers, the authority worshippers and the adherents of the cult of the uniform are of particular danger in these twisted times but even worse are the apathetic and clueless Americans, the sheeple as they are often referred to. Whitehead also addresses them in “Turning America Into a War Zone, Where ‘We the People’ Are the Enemy”:
You see, what Americans have failed to comprehend, living as they do in a TV-induced, drug-like haze of fabricated realities, narcissistic denial, and partisan politics, is that we’ve not only brought the military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan home to be used against the American people. We’ve also brought the very spirit of the war home.
This is what it feels like to be a conquered people. This is what it feels like to be an occupied nation. This is what it feels like to live in fear of armed men crashing through your door in the middle of the night, or to be accused of doing something you never even knew was a crime, or to be watched all the time, your movements tracked, your motives questioned.
This is what it’s like to be a citizen of the American police state. This is what it’s like to be an enemy combatant in your own country.
So if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, by all means, stand down. Cower in the face of the police, turn your eyes away from injustice, find any excuse to suggest that the so-called victims of the police state deserved what they got.
But remember, when that rifle finally gets pointed in your direction—and it will—when there’s no one left to stand up for you or speak up for you, remember that you were warned.
The window of opportunity to stop – or at least slow the momentum of the juggernaut – is rapidly closing. People should heed the warnings of patriotic Americans such as John Whitehead instead of sitting on their couches and just tuning out. It will be too late when their doors are kicked down by militarized police shock troops in the middle of Dancing With the Stars.