Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Whiff of Homeland

Have you ever wondered about the term "homeland security"? Has it ever bothered you? Does it have about it the strong odor of something not quite American? I've felt that way ever since I first heard the phrase in the fevered aftermath of 9/11 when Bush was calling for Arab scalps. Homeland security: it always sounded to my ears like a fascist thing. I recall the newsreels of Hitler frothing about the "Faterland" and the sea of Nazi salutes from the frenzied crowds. And the sound landscape of thousand upon thousands of "Heils!!" This is what "homeland" reminded me of. And I cannot help but think this specific term was conjured up with just the whiff of militarism intentionally there. It was no spur of the moment decision to graft this word into our everyday language, where, we should note, it is comfortably ensconced. It's not going away.

This was never the "homeland," was it? It was my country. Your country. Or in rare instances, "my nation." But "homeland"? Nope. That was never heard.

Crowd control
Not until we began morphing into the police state that we are fast turning into. Have you taken a gander lately at what the police are wearing just about anywhere for their duties that involve something more than directing traffic or raising flags or patrolling around catching speeders or harassing male black kids under the age of 20? I'm talking the so-called "tactical police units" or the cops when they're on any kind of crowd control posture. They remind me first, of military units: they look like them and they are armed like them. And second, it doesn't take too much imagination to see these formations like the minions of Darth Vader in Star Wars. Always menacing in their body armor and anonymity.

But whose worried about this? Nobody. The American people seem perfectly happy to be living in a place where the threat of mobilized police that are essentially paramilitary units stationed in every U.S. city of any size whatever.

I'm not alone in worrying about this homeland stuff. See Tom's Dispatch from a few days ago.
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