The government was always right and never apologized;
Any dissent was suppressed, ridiculed, banned or worse;
Secret prisons were denied and never acknowledged or spoken about;
The torture of captives was condoned;
State incarceration was not subject to the checks and balances of a legal system;
Economic plans, like for oil, were established/determined in closed sessions between politicos, commissars and production managers, far outside public view, and where government claimed privilege in so doing;
Wages were set at the lowest common denominator, no matter what Bloc country you were in;
Government agents had access to your medical records, your library records, your telephone, and your e-mail.
A place where judicial power and judicial review were proclaimed concepts, but simply ignored in application;
Where criminal records of young adults were closed to all but the military;
Where a Constitution was a mere facade and ignored by state actors.
Any dissent, debate and protest were deemed unpatriotic;
The public media was bought, paid for, and provided by the state;
The military clandestinely and shamelessly influenced the national media and public opinion;
A place where wrong was declared right;
Where tapping a phone was like tapping a pencil;
Where lying was considered a patriotic skill;
The extraction of natural resources was paramount to any concern for the environment and the impact on the health of its people;
Where the use of Ã¢â‚¬Å“state secrets,Ã¢â‚¬Â (those things embarrassing to the government) were confused with legitimate issues of Ã¢â‚¬Å“national securityÃ¢â‚¬Â;
A place where “secrecy” and “national security” were used to control debate;
Where legitimate secrecy, was subject to political use and abuse;
Where “legislators” were mere mouthpieces for and rubberstamps of whoever was in power;
Where you lived and died with the permission of the government;
A place where foreign policy was more important than domestic concerns;
Where fear was used as a political weapon and an acceptable means of control;
Where the best medical care was reserved for the influential;
Where wealth was concentrated in the top 5%;
A place where there was no middle class — just a small economic and political elite, and the working poor.
This is from a speech by former CIA officer Jim Marcinkowski, now running for Congress in Michigan’s 8th District.
These remarks were delivered in Washtenaw County, Michigan on February 8, 2006
He was referring to the now dissolved Soviet Union, against which America presented itself as a vibrant and inspiring contrast — well, most of the time.
We have become a nation led by those contriving fear, selling fear, validating fear, legitimated by fear — and we run the risk of becoming what we fought for decades.
— Steve Clemons