In 2003, as we moved toward war, I read The March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman, which I discussed briefly in this post on the bad popes of the Renaissance. As I mentioned there, Tuchman's discussion of Vietnam served as an excellent analogy for the "conflict" in Iraq, and served as well as good notice that the whole affair was going to be a MISTAKE.
Lately I've been watching (for the umpteenth time) something that I believe also serves as an analogy for the current political situation in the US: Simon Schama's 15-hour documentary History of Britain. In particular, episode # 8, "The British Wars," which discusses the revolution by which Britain briefly became a monarch-free republic, seems relevant. Armies were raised--many of them. There was a protracted civil war, a fight started because of a ruler who thought he deserved absolute obedience. Watching the episode, I have wondered what weapons ordinary citizens have against the despots who are seizing the country. I don't think we have many.
I hope I'm wrong, but I believe we are heading towards a revolution. I think it will be bloody. I think it will be brutal. I think it will bankrupt the country even more than the war in Iraq and the bailouts of Wall Street have done, and I think in a generation or two we'll be a third-rate bankrupt dictatorship somewhere between the current Zimbabwe and the old Soviet Union in terms of its repressiveness, its inability to provide its citizens with their basic needs, its misery and its blight.
Naomi Klein's article The Battle Plan II: Sarah "Evita" Palin and the Coming Police State adds to my dread. Read the whole thing. Read it carefully, especially the bit about our preparations for a homeland army that will fight in American streets against threats like natural disasters and terrorists. I hope you'll have more guts than I did and will send it to your Republican relatives. I don't dare, because I've been told that if I want certain members of my family to continue to talk to me, I won't discuss politics. But I know that I can't just sit by and watch as this happens. I don't really have much faith that the upcoming election will be anything but rigged, but I have to do what I can to affect the outcome. I've got to volunteer.